A Tale of Two Cities

Understanding Children’s Cycling Behavior From the Socio-Ecological Perspective

Dr Demet Yesiltepe, together with researchers from Northumbria University and Amsterdam University of Applied Science, published a perspective paper in Frontiers. The researchers reviewed cycling policies of two European cities, Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Newcastle (UK), where stark contrasts in children’s cycling participation can be observed. They adopted the socio-ecological model to gain insight into how children’s cycling behavior is shaped at the interpersonal, organizational and community level embedded within city policies, relevant to increase future cycling participation in children.

The results showed that cycling policies in Amsterdam have mainly contributed to comprehensive organizational level changes, for example, cycling infrastructure development within the city, whereby these initiatives have made significant progress at the community level where cycling has become part of the “Dutch culture”. In Newcastle, policies primarily focus on  organizational or community level changes, and progress has recently been accelerated in response to COVID-19. In addition to differences, the researchers also identified similar challenges in the two cities, such as the urgency to support uptake of cycling for children with low socio-economic background or challenges related to cultural differences.