Naturalistic cycling study: identifying risk factors for on-road commuter cyclists

Ann Adv Automot Med. 2010:54:275-83.


The study aim was to identify risk factors for collisions/near-collisions involving on-road commuter cyclists and drivers. A naturalistic cycling study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia, with cyclists wearing helmet-mounted video cameras. Video recordings captured cyclists' perspective of the road and traffic behaviours including head checks, reactions and manoeuvres. The 100-car naturalistic driving study analysis technique was adapted for data analysis and events were classified by severity: collision, near-collision and incident. Participants were adult cyclists and each filmed 12 hours of commuter cycling trips over a 4-week period. In total, 127 hours and 38 minutes were analysed for 13 participants, 54 events were identified: 2 collisions, 6 near-collisions and 46 incidents. Prior to events, 88.9% of cyclists travelled in a safe/legal manner. Sideswipe was the most frequent event type (40.7%). Most events occurred at an intersection/intersection-related location (70.3%). The vehicle driver was judged at fault in the majority of events (87.0%) and no post-event driver reaction was observed (83.3%). Cross tabulations revealed significant associations between event severity and: cyclist reaction, cyclist post-event manoeuvre, pre-event driver behaviour, other vehicle involved, driver reaction, visual obstruction, cyclist head check (left), event type and vehicle location (p<0.05). Frequent head checks suggest cyclists had high situational awareness and their reactive behaviour to driver actions led to successful avoidance of collisions/near-collisions. Strategies to improve driver awareness of on-road cyclists and to indicate early before turning/changing lanes when sharing the roadway with cyclists are discussed. Findings will contribute to the development of effective countermeasures to reduce cyclist trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Australia
  • Bicycling*
  • Head Protective Devices
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors