person on bike waiting for a car to pass in simulator
Friday, July 25, 2014 - 12:00am

This investigation examined how children and adults negotiate a challenging perceptual-motor problem with significant real-world implications – bicycling across two lanes of opposing traffic. Twelve- and 14-year-olds and adults rode a bicycling simulator through an immersive virtual environment. Participants crossed intersections with continuous cross traffic coming from opposing directions. Opportunities for crossing were divided into aligned (far gap opens with or before near gap) and rolling (far gap opens after near gap) gap pairs. Children and adults preferred rolling to aligned gap pairs, though this preference was stronger for adults than for children. Crossing aligned versus rolling gap pairs produced substantial differences in direction of travel, speed of crossing, and timing of entry into the near and far lanes. For both aligned and rolling gap pairs, children demonstrated less skill than adults in coordinating self and object movement. These findings have implications for understanding perception-action-cognition links and for understanding risk factors underlying car-bicycle collisions.

To read the full paper:

Grechkin, T. Y., Chihak, B. J., Cremer, J. F., Kearney, J. K., & Plumert, J. M. (2013). Perceiving and acting on complex affordances: How children and adults bicycle across two lanes of opposing traffic. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 39, 23-36.