Training for Senior Citizens Cyclists

Mobility is an important resource for improving quality of life and maintaining participation in social life. Bicycle usage as an alternative to walking or driving represents one aspect of the human mobility system that can contribute to long-lasting and low-cost mobility for elderly people. Additionally, regular physical activity such as cycling in everyday life has health-enhancing effects. Cyclists from 60 years onwards suffer much longer from severe accidents in daily traffic than cyclists of other age groups. Moreover, in this age group slightly different kinds of accidents occur. Some typical causes are, for example, getting on or off the bike (slipping off the pedals) or greater difficulties in dealing with uneven surfaces (i.e. potholes, curbs).

During a human lifespan, typical degenerative phenomena occur. Thus this age group experiences a general increase in difficulties arising from physical changes. These changes influence behaviour in traffic. For example, turning left in traffic requires not only signaling - and cycling with only one hand on the handlebar - but also looking over your shoulder. Because physical flexibility generally decreases with age, there may be a higher specific risk of accidents occurring during an offside turn. Consequently, with increasing age, accident prevention becomes more important. But senior citizens also need to increase their sense of confidence on their bicycles, otherwise they are likely to give up cycling because of their fear of accidents. There are already a number of workshops for senior citizen cyclists to train correct behavior in traffic. However, there is a lack of any specific program to improve the basic motor skills required during cycling.

The University of Dresden (Department of Psychology, Chair of Assessment and Intervention) and Leipzig University (Faculty of Sport Science, Institute of Exercise and Public Health) have developed a structured training concept for senior citizen cyclists to meet their needs for safe, everyday cycling. This training has been developed not only to prevent accidents and maintain mobility but also to support health aspects of the target group. We also focus on motor problems as well as on the aspect of traffic behavior and the risks older cyclists take.

The program involves 300 participants from 60 years and above who all come from 16 small to medium-sized cities in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt where public transport is not as good as in bigger cities like Dresden or Leipzig. In this case, cycling also offers a good opportunity to participate in social life.

Prof. Dr. Carmen Hagemeister, Technische Universität Dresden, Psychologie II, Professur Diagnostik und Intervention
Zellescher Weg 17, BZW A 305, 01069 Dresden
Tel.: +49 351 463-36994, Fax: +49 351 463-37776, E- Mail: Carmen.Hagemeister@tu-dresden.de

Prof. Dr. Petra Wagner, Universität Leipzig, Institut für Gesundheitssport und Public Health
Jahnallee 59, 04109 Leipzig
Tel.: +49 (0) 341 97-31650, Fax: +49 (0) 341 97-31798, E-Mail: Petra.Wagner@uni-leipzig.de

Supported by:

Copyright: Green City e.V., Tobias Hase

Copyright: Spiegelneuronen, Rüstig, Frankfurt/Main 2008

Prof. Dr. Carmen Hagemeister und Prof. Dr. Petra Wagner

Technische Universität Dresden
Fachrichtung Psychologie
Professur Diagnostik und Intervention

M.A. Heike Bunte

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

Telefon: +49 351 463-36968

E-Mail: bunte@psychologie.tu-dresden.de

Sitz: FAB 1. OG. Raum 122

Sekretariat: Katrin Nachtigal
Tel.: +49 351 463-36977
Fax: +49 351 463-37776
E-Mail: nachtigal@psychologie.tu-dresden.de
täglich 08.00 - 12.00 Uhr


1. OG. Raum 116
Chemnitzer Str. 46b
01187 Dresden