Riders cycling on roads without bicycle lanes are generally advised to ride in the centre of their lane (primary position), and to move toward the left of the lane (in left-hand traffic; secondary position) only to let faster traffic pass and when it is safe. The present research investigated which situational and personal characteristics were associated with choice of lane position, and whether choice of lane position is associated with on-road crash involvement. A large cohort of bicycle riders from New South Wales Australia reported on their cycling patterns and crashes in 6 reporting weeks over a 1-year period using on-line surveys. During one reporting week 1525 participants identified their preferred choice of lane position in each of 6 visually-depicted scenarios that were designed to investigate the influence of number of lanes (in the cyclists’ direction of travel), parked cars, and bus lanes. A majority of respondents preferred the secondary position in scenarios with a clear kerbside lane. Respondents were significantly more likely to choose the primary position in multiple-lane situations compared to single-lane situations, if there were parked cars in the kerbside lane, and if they were female, younger, experienced riders, transport riders, or high intensity riders. Controlling for personal characteristics, choosing the primary position in a single clear traffic lane scenario was associated with a higher on-road crash rate, while choosing the primary position in a traffic lane with parked cars scenario was associated with a lower on-road crash rate. Results suggested that when riding on-road the bicycle riders in this Australian cohort prefer to keep their distance from motorised traffic, allowing traffic to pass safely when space allows. Nonetheless, results suggested that choice of lane position is highly dependent on the local road and traffic environment. Further research is needed to support advice to cyclists.
This paper investigates events in which cyclists perceive a cycling crash is narrowly avoided (henceforth, a near miss). A cohort of 2038 adult transport and recreational cyclists from New South Wales (Australia) provided self-reported prospectively collected data from cycling diaries to allow the calculation of an exposure-based rate of near misses and investigation of near miss circumstances. During 25,971 days of cycling, 3437 near misses were reported. For a given time cycling, cyclists who rode mainly for transport (compared with those who rode mainly for recreation), and cyclists with less experience (compared to those with more experience) were more likely to report a near miss; older cyclists (60+ years) were less likely to report a near miss than younger cyclists (25-59 years). Where type of near miss was recorded, 72.0% involved motor vehicles, 10.9% involved pedestrians and 6.9% involved other cyclists. Results indicate some similarities between near misses and crashes reported by this cohort during the same reporting period. A bias toward reporting near misses with motor Vehicles was suggested, which likely reflects cyclists' perceptions that crashes involving motor vehicles are particularly serious, and highlights their impact on perceived safety. Given the relative rarity of crashes, and the limited breadth and depth of administrative data, collection of near miss data may contribute to our understanding of cycling safety by increasing the volume and detail of information available for analysis. Addressing the causes of near misses may offer an opportunity to improve both perceived and actual safety for cyclists. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.