Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What do cyclists need to see to avoid single-bicycle crashes?

Date:
October 12, 2012
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Crashes are an unfortunate fact of life for many traveling on roads and bicycle paths, but how and why they happen is not always well understood. New research shows that in crashes where a single cyclist collided with a bollard, narrowed road or other obstacle, or rode off the road altogether, poor visibility and especially poor visual contrast played a significant part.

With the 'Wiggins effect' in full swing after London 2012 and people taking up cycling for sport or recreation like never before, the safety of the country's cyclists has never been more important.

Crashes are an unfortunate fact of life for many travelling on our roads and bicycle paths, but how and why they happen is not always well understood. In the Netherlands alone, A&E Departments treat 46,000 injuries sustained in single-bicycle incidents each year, 6000 of which lead to hospital admission. Reducing the number of bicycle accidents is thus good for the public purse as well as for the cyclists themselves.

Faced with such figures, two Dutch academics, Paul Schepers and Berry den Brinker, set out to learn more about single-bicycle crashes. The resulting paper, 'What do cyclists need to see to avoid single-bicycle crashes?', has been awarded two prizes from insurers Liberty Mutual: 'Best Paper Published in the Journal Ergonomics' (54/4 2011, 315-327) and the '2012 IEA/Liberty Mutual Medal in Occupational Safety and Ergonomics'.

The researchers followed two approaches. The first was to 'study the relationship between the crashes and age, light condition, alcohol use, gaze direction and familiarity with the crash scene' in a set of accidents. The second used the 'image degrading and edge detection' (or IDED) method to investigate the visual characteristics of some crash sites.

What the authors found was that in those crashes where a single cyclist collided with a bollard, narrowed road or other obstacle, or rode off the road altogether, poor visibility and especially poor visual contrast played a significant part. Schepers and den Brinker also investigated how issues with a cyclist's 'focal' vision (seeing the 'far' road ahead to plan for future hazards) and 'ambient' vision (seeing the 'near' road to correct the bicycle's current position) can contribute to a crash.

As a result of their study, the authors question the common assumption that cyclists 'can do without a minimal level of guidance and conspicuity of (design-related) obstacles'.

They state that 'the visibility of critical information in the visual periphery is indeed important for safe cycling' and make several recommendations, including applying edge lines to the curves on bicycle paths, especially on those with high levels of cycling, no street lighting or a risk of glare from oncoming vehicles.

Schepers and den Brinker also suggest that adding warning centre lines to two-way cycle paths, increasing the visibility of bollards with contrasting colours, and using 'profiled' markings to alert a cyclist riding behind another to dangers ahead could all help prevent crashes.

This prize-winning study on accident prevention -- which shifts the focus from road-surface issues and the visibility of cyclists to what the cyclists themselves actually see -- is essential reading for urban planners, cycling promoters and anyone concerned with the safety of the thousands of people now taking to two wheels after the recent Olympics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Taylor & Francis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul Schepers, Berry den Brinker. What do cyclists need to see to avoid single-bicycle crashes? Ergonomics, 2011; 54 (4): 315 DOI: 10.1080/00140139.2011.558633

Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "What do cyclists need to see to avoid single-bicycle crashes?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012074657.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2012, October 12). What do cyclists need to see to avoid single-bicycle crashes?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012074657.htm
Taylor & Francis. "What do cyclists need to see to avoid single-bicycle crashes?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012074657.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins