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Safety in numbers for cyclists-conclusions from a multidisciplinary study of seasonal change in interplay and conflicts

Fyhri, A.; Sundfør, H. B.; Bjørnskau, T. and Laureshyn, A. LU (2015) In Accident Analysis and Prevention
Abstract

In many European countries, it is a political goal that future growth in local travel should be absorbed by sustainable transport modes. Concerns that increased walking and cycling produce more accidents have been countered by the "safety in numbers" (SiN) argument. According to SiN, the more walkers/cyclists there are in a population, the lower their risk. SiN has been demonstrated in cross sectional and longitudinal studies, but the mechanisms behind the effect have yet to be proven.Previous studies have mostly relied on register data. The current study, carried out in 2013 and 2014 tests the existence of this effect in a more controlled manner. This is achieved through the use of three data sets: (1) roadside survey data with... (More)

In many European countries, it is a political goal that future growth in local travel should be absorbed by sustainable transport modes. Concerns that increased walking and cycling produce more accidents have been countered by the "safety in numbers" (SiN) argument. According to SiN, the more walkers/cyclists there are in a population, the lower their risk. SiN has been demonstrated in cross sectional and longitudinal studies, but the mechanisms behind the effect have yet to be proven.Previous studies have mostly relied on register data. The current study, carried out in 2013 and 2014 tests the existence of this effect in a more controlled manner. This is achieved through the use of three data sets: (1) roadside survey data with cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers from Oslo carried out at three time points in the cycling season (2) a panel study covering the same time period, and (3) video observations at four different locations in Oslo. By exploiting the natural seasonal variation in cycling frequency, and by using a repeated measures design we can further control for other factors suggested to lie behind the SiN mechanism, such as differences in infrastructure and traffic culture.The results suggest that bicyclists experience a short term Safety in Numbers effect through the season. Each individual cyclist experiences fewer occasions of being overlooked by cars and fewer safety critical situations (near-misses). Video observation data confirm this pattern. However, the SiN effect seems to be countered by another mechanism taking place at the same time: the influx of inexperienced and risk-taking cyclists through the season. Thus car drivers and pedestrians also report to find themselves being surprised by cyclists in traffic late in the season.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Cyclist safety, Interplay, Near-misses, Traffic conflicts, Video observations
in
Accident Analysis and Prevention
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:84970016346
ISSN
0001-4575
DOI
10.1016/j.aap.2016.04.039
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
cf75b9ae-8efb-4cd5-9699-733db862401e
date added to LUP
2016-10-10 10:53:43
date last changed
2017-01-01 08:36:17
@article{cf75b9ae-8efb-4cd5-9699-733db862401e,
  abstract     = {<p>In many European countries, it is a political goal that future growth in local travel should be absorbed by sustainable transport modes. Concerns that increased walking and cycling produce more accidents have been countered by the "safety in numbers" (SiN) argument. According to SiN, the more walkers/cyclists there are in a population, the lower their risk. SiN has been demonstrated in cross sectional and longitudinal studies, but the mechanisms behind the effect have yet to be proven.Previous studies have mostly relied on register data. The current study, carried out in 2013 and 2014 tests the existence of this effect in a more controlled manner. This is achieved through the use of three data sets: (1) roadside survey data with cyclists, pedestrians and car drivers from Oslo carried out at three time points in the cycling season (2) a panel study covering the same time period, and (3) video observations at four different locations in Oslo. By exploiting the natural seasonal variation in cycling frequency, and by using a repeated measures design we can further control for other factors suggested to lie behind the SiN mechanism, such as differences in infrastructure and traffic culture.The results suggest that bicyclists experience a short term Safety in Numbers effect through the season. Each individual cyclist experiences fewer occasions of being overlooked by cars and fewer safety critical situations (near-misses). Video observation data confirm this pattern. However, the SiN effect seems to be countered by another mechanism taking place at the same time: the influx of inexperienced and risk-taking cyclists through the season. Thus car drivers and pedestrians also report to find themselves being surprised by cyclists in traffic late in the season.</p>},
  author       = {Fyhri, A. and Sundfør, H. B. and Bjørnskau, T. and Laureshyn, A.},
  issn         = {0001-4575},
  keyword      = {Cyclist safety,Interplay,Near-misses,Traffic conflicts,Video observations},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Accident Analysis and Prevention},
  title        = {Safety in numbers for cyclists-conclusions from a multidisciplinary study of seasonal change in interplay and conflicts},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2016.04.039},
  year         = {2015},
}