Safety-critical events in everyday cycling - Interviews with bicyclists and video annotation of safety-critical events in a naturalistic cycling study
Journal article, 2015
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Research in cycling safety seeks to better understand bicycle-related crashes and injuries. The present naturalistic cycling study contributes to this research by collecting data about bicyclists' behavior and impressions of safety-critical situations, information unavailable in traditional data sources (e.g., accident databases, observational studies). Naturalistic data were collected from 16 bicyclists (8 female; M = 39.1 years, SD = 11.4 years) who rode instrumented bicycles for two weeks. Bicyclists were instructed to report all episodes in which they felt uncomfortable while riding (subjective risk perception), even if they didn't fall. After data collection, the bicyclists were interviewed in detail regarding their self-reported safety-critical events. Environmental conditions were also recorded via video (e.g., road surface, weather). In total, 63 safety-critical events (56 non-crashes, 7 crashes) were reported by the bicyclists, mainly due to interactions with other road users - but also due to poorly maintained infrastructure. In low-visibility conditions, vehicle-bicycle and bicycle-bicycle events were the most uncomfortable for the bicyclists. Self-reported pedestrian-bicycle events primarily consisted of pedestrians starting to cross the bicycle path without looking. With one exception, all crashes found in the study belonged to poorly maintained road and infrastructure. In particular, construction work or obstacles in the bicycle path were reported as uncomfortable and annoying by the bicyclists. This study shows how naturalistic data and bicyclists' interviews together can provide a more informative picture of safety-critical situations experienced by the bicyclist than traditional data sources can.