Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Christine Stauber, Ph.D., M.S.

Second Advisor

Frances McCarty, Ph.D., M.ED.

Third Advisor

John Steward


ABSTRACT An Examination of Socio-demographic Characteristics and Perceptions of Cycling among Students at Georgia State University (Under the direction of Christine Stauber, Faculty Member) Background: Bicycling as a form of transportation is important to public health and the improvement of the environment by way of sustainable transportation. Active transportation is inversely related to all-cause mortality, obesity, and levels of ozone and greenhouse gases. University communities have been shown to bicycle more than big cities. However, downtown setting of the Georgia State University (GSU) campus poses unique barriers to bicycling. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in fall, 2009 at GSU. To determine perceptions and barriers to bicycling, the sample was divided into cyclists and non-cyclists. Chi square analysis, odds ratios, and multivariate logistic regression were used to compare the socio-demographic characteristics and perceptions surrounding bicycling between the groups. Results: The survey included 314 students; 60% female, 11.1% bicyclists, and mean age of 23. Of the socio-demographic characteristics examined, gender was the only factor significantly associated with bicycling, with males being 6.82 times more likely to cycle. Independent t-tests found that bicyclists viewed the built environment, social support, and future bicycling support more favorably than non-cyclists. Of the built environment factors, distance was the most important barrier to bicycling (OR=2.156, 95% CI= 1.484-3.133). Cyclists and non-cyclists were in agreement that bicycling was unsafe due to motor vehicle traffic, roadway conditions, and theft risk Conclusions: Overall, the findings were consistent with current knowledge about bicycling. The findings show that distance appears to be the most significant barrier to bicycling. Although safety due to roadway conditions and motor vehicle traffic and risk of bicycle theft did not produce significant results, these factors should be addressed in future studies and/or programs. Further investigation into how to alter these perceptions and create safer environments for the community would be beneficial.


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