Cycling with low vision
|PhD ceremony:||Mr L.H. (Bart) Jelijs|
|When:||March 30, 2023|
|Supervisors:||prof. dr. D. (Dick) de Waard, prof. dr. K.A. (Karel) Brookhuis, prof. dr. J.H.C. (Joost) Heutink|
|Co-supervisor:||dr. B.J.M. (Bart) Melis-Dankers|
|Where:||Academy building RUG|
|Faculty:||Behavioural and Social Sciences|
In the Netherlands, cycling is important for independent mobility and social participation: many people cycle on a daily basis, for example to go to school, work or to do shopping. But what if you have impaired vision, can you still cycle independently and safely?
It is known that there are people with severe (permanent) limitations of visual acuity or visual field who cycle independently. But there are also people with less severe visual function limitations who ceased cycling. The severity of the vision limitation is not always decisive for one’s bicycle use: additional circumstances also play a role. This project aimed to provide insight into these circumstances, the difficulties experienced by visually impaired cyclists, and how they adjust their behaviour to enable themselves to cycle. Better knowledge on this topic could support other visually impaired people who wish to cycle, which could further optimise their mobility.
This project shows that not only environmental circumstances (including infrastructure and traffic situation) but also self-confidence are important for the bicycle use. Difficulties experienced by many visually impaired cyclists are related to: light-dark transitions, crossing intersections without traffic lights, and the bad visibility of others. Visually impaired cyclists maintain a lower speed more frequently than their normally sighted peers, possibly to process visual information. There are no indications that visually impaired take different, safer routes. A more general finding is that guidelines for independent cycling should not be based solely on the nature or severity of the visual function limitation as this would unnecessarily exclude too many visually impaired people from cycling.