How visually impaired cyclists ride regular and pedal electric bicycles

Bart Jelijs*, Joost Heutink, Dick de Waard, Karel A. Brookhuis, Bart J. M. Melis-Dankers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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The present study investigates whether visually impaired cyclists compensate for their vision limitations by maintaining a lower speed or a larger distance to the kerb than normally sighted cyclists when riding a regular bicycle or pedal electric bicycle (pedelec). A normally sighted control group (n = 10), a peripheral visual field loss group (n = 9), and a low visual acuity group (n = 12) rode a fixed route (7.5 km) in the Netherlands on a regular bicycle and on a pedelec. Speed and lateral position were measured when participants cycled a (I) one-way cycle path, (II) two-way cycle path, (III) residential area, and (IV) shared space zone. With regard to both the regular bicycle and the pedelec, no significant speed or lateral position differences were found between the three groups. In conclusion, for some people with severe and permanent visual impairments, and under certain circumstances, regular bicycle and pedelec riding may be possible without noticeable speed reduction or adapted lane position to compensate for their functional impairment. The present findings may further optimise the cycling advice provided by mobility trainers of vision rehabilitation centres and the independent mobility of visually impaired people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research. Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2020


  • E-bike
  • Electric bicycle
  • Low vision
  • Mobility
  • Vision rehabilitation
  • Visual function impairment
  • ROAD

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