Cyclabilities, cycling and children with additional needs According to the Road Safety Trust, the ACT has the highest cycling participation rate in Australia (www.roadsafetytrust.org.au), however, anecdotally we know children with additional needs (and by extension their families) often miss out.
While there is very little published around the cycling participation of children with additional needs in Australia we have found many factors can negatively impact their involvement. One of the most significant is the inability of existing mainstream teaching methods and resources to address the cycling and road safety needs of these children.
Despite these barriers, cycling can provide many benefits for children with additional needs. This can include increased physical activity, improved gross motor skills, balance and coordination. In addition to these tangible skills, participants in the Cyclabilities pilot program have shown increased confidence, independence and social skills, as well as cognitive development and increased visual perception. The ability to cycle independently allows for a new means of transport and a lifelong skill.
Cyclabilites has developed to address this gap, as a road safety and learn to ride program for children with additional needs. The program draws on a multidisciplinary therapy team to provide a holistic approach to learning. Recognising that each student is different, the program works to provide a personalised, student centred model of learning responsive to the needs in individual participants.
This manual has been developed to support the development of pedestrian and cycling safety skills. It is divided into two sections: Pedestrian Safety; and Cycling Safety. Each section explores the basic skills children need to begin to develop, and identifies strategies to support the provision of this instruction to children with additional needs.