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The influence of a bicycle commuter's appearance on drivers’ overtaking proximities : an on-road test of bicyclist stereotypes, high-visibility clothing and safety aids in the United Kingdom


Reference:

Walker, I., Garrard, I. and Jowitt, F., 2014. The influence of a bicycle commuter's appearance on drivers’ overtaking proximities : an on-road test of bicyclist stereotypes, high-visibility clothing and safety aids in the United Kingdom. Accident Analysis and Prevention, 64, pp. 69-77.

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    Official URL:

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aap.2013.11.007

    Abstract

    This study looked at whether drivers overtaking a bicyclist changed the proximities of their passes in response to the level of experience and skill signalled by the bicyclist's appearance. Five outfits were tested, ranging from a stereotypical sport rider's outfit, portraying high experience and skill, to a vest with ‘novice cyclist’ printed on the back, portraying low experience. A high-visibility bicycling jacket was also used, as were two commercially available safety vests, one featuring a prominent mention of the word ‘police’ and a warning that the rider was video-recording their journey, and one modelled after a police officer's jacket but with a letter changed so it read ‘POLITE’. An ultrasonic distance sensor recorded the space left by vehicles passing the bicyclist on a regular commuting route. 5690 data points fulfilled the criteria for the study and were included in the analyses. The only outfit associated with a significant change in mean passing proximities was the police/video-recording jacket. Contrary to predictions, drivers treated the sports outfit and the ‘novice cyclist’ outfit equivalently, suggesting they do not adjust overtaking proximity as a function of a rider's perceived experience. Notably, whilst some outfits seemed to discourage motorists from passing within 1 metre of the rider, approximately 1-2% of overtakes came within 50 cm no matter what outfit was worn. This suggests there is little riders can do, by altering their appearance, to prevent the very closest overtakes; it is suggested that infrastructural, educational or legal measures are more promising for preventing drivers from passing extremely close to bicyclists.

    Details

    Item Type Articles
    CreatorsWalker, I., Garrard, I. and Jowitt, F.
    DOI10.1016/j.aap.2013.11.007
    DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Psychology
    Publisher StatementWalker_2013.pdf: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Accident Analysis & Prevention. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Accident Analysis & Prevention, 2013, DOI 10.1016/j.aap.2013.11.007
    RefereedYes
    StatusPublished
    ID Code37890

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