Key factors for the bicycle use of visually impaired people: a Delphi study

Purpose: This study aims to identify the most important factors that influence the independent bicycle use of visually impaired people in the Netherlands.

Materials and methods: Both visually impaired people and professionals participated in a two-round online Delphi study (n = 42). In Round 1 the participants identified the factors which they ranked by relevance in Round 2.

Results: The participants prioritised environmental factors related to the traffic situation, the characteristics of the infrastructure, and weather and light conditions (Kendall’s W = 0.66). They indicated that the most influencing personal factors are related to personality, traffic experience, and personal background (W = 0.58). Glaucoma was ranked as the most relevant ophthalmic condition (W = 0.74), while glare was regarded as the most important factor with respect to the visual functions (W = 0.78).

Conclusions: The factors provided by this study can be used to optimise the independent cycling mobility of visually impaired people. More research is needed to investigate, both, how and to what extent the mentioned factors influence the cycling behaviour.Implications for rehabilitation

The results of this study can be used to set priorities during the rehabilitation and training of visually impaired people who wish to cycle independently.

Visually impaired cyclists may compensate for the consequences of their visual impairments by taking alternative routes that suit their individual abilities and limitations.

Since gaining and maintaining self-confidence is important for independent cycling with a visual impairment, practitioners such as mobility trainers should not only focus on cycling-related skills and abilities, but also aim to improve the self-confidence of visually impaired people who wish to cycle.

The results of this study can be used to set priorities during the rehabilitation and training of visually impaired people who wish to cycle independently.

Visually impaired cyclists may compensate for the consequences of their visual impairments by taking alternative routes that suit their individual abilities and limitations.

Since gaining and maintaining self-confidence is important for independent cycling with a visual impairment, practitioners such as mobility trainers should not only focus on cycling-related skills and abilities, but also aim to improve the self-confidence of visually impaired people who wish to cycle.