Child Development and Off-road Riding

Childhood deaths and injuries due to powered off-road vehicles used for recreation and motor sports are steadily increasing in Australia. Unlike the case for registered vehicles used on public roads, there are no legislative controls restricting the minimum age of use of powered off-road vehicles.

There have been repeated calls to restrict the use of these vehicles based on likely physical, cognitive and perceptual limitations of children as they progress through normal development. Some guidelines suggest children should not use these vehicles until a certain age, while others indicate children of different ages should use specific vehicle types. However, there has been no study of physiological, cognitive and perceptual factors and control of these vehicles by children at different stages of development. There is currently no evidence on which guidelines can be based.

This project aims to:

  1. Conducting a functional assessment of the riding task covering physical, sensory and cognitive domains
  2. Collation of existing relevant functional assessment tools and riding performance assessments
  3. Constructing an expert panel in pediatric functional assessment, and an expert panel on off road riding.
  4. Modification of existing assessment tools to match the tasks identified in the task analysis via expert consensus using the Delphi consensus method
  5. Trial of the modified assessment tools for 3 months on a group of 25 riders aged 8 – 13 to examine validity and reliability of the tools.