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Velo-City: Perth » Uncategorized » Be seen, be safe

Be seen, be safe

As the days start to close in, it’s time to revisit the reflective wardrobe. A recent study shows that most of us aren’t being seen so we can be safe. Well, it shows that our South Australian comrades aren’t, but I know there are plenty of us all over the country who fall into the invisible category as well.

The study focused on commuters, who in my experience are generally more visibility conscious than a lot of recreational riders who opt for style over safety, which makes the results even more alarming. The general level of conspicuity among cyclists commuting to the Adelaide CBD was low, with less than half of cyclists observed to have high frontal conspicuity and only one in five identified as having high rear conspicuity.

As the researchers say:
“since same direction crashes may produce more severe injury to the cyclist (Pai, 2011) and account for a large proportion of fatal crashes (Hutchinson & Lindsay, 2009; Knowles et al., 2009), the low frequency with which high rear conspicuity was observed is concerning.”

And just to show what chumps we can be:
“An interesting finding is that almost half of cyclists who make a conscious effort to increase their conspicuity (i.e., wear a high visibility vest), lose the value of this conspicuity from the rear by obscuring the vest with a backpack. “

The other findings are perhaps not surprising: women are more visible than men; men are more likely to cover their backs with packs; older cyclists are more likely than younger ones to wear reflective vests; and roadies wouldn’t be seen dead in them.

The researchers conclude: “ there is perhaps some psychological characteristic of these cyclists that influences their choice of clothing and use of high conspicuity aids.”

Source: “The conspicuity of South Australian cyclists: implications for safety ” pub Jan 2013 by Centre for Automotive Safety Research, authors are SJ Rafferty and JAL Grigo from the University of Adelaide.

Other references cited:
Hutchinson, T. P., & Lindsay, V. L. (2009). Pedestrian and cyclist crashes in the Adelaide Metropolitan Area. Adelaide: Centre for Automotive Safety Research.
Knowles, J., Adams, S., Cuerden, R., Savill, T., Reid, S., & Tight, M. (2009). Collisions involving
cyclists on Britain’s roads: establishing the causes: TRL.
Pai, C. (2011). Overtaking, rear-end, and door crashes involving bicycles: An empirical investigation.
Accident Analysis & Prevention, 43, 1228-1235

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