S. O’Hern, J. Oxley, M. Stevenson
In Australia, the proportion of serious and fatal road traffic injuries involving cyclists is increasing and it is recognised that there is a growing need to improve cyclist safety to encourage increased participation in this sustainable mode of transport. Relatively little research has been conducted in Australia to understand how cyclist behaviour can be influenced through variations in road design aimed to improve safety. This paper presents the findings from a study using a newly developed virtual reality bicycle simulator. The study examined how bicycle lane width and perceptual countermeasures can influence cyclist speed and position. Twenty seven participants ranging in age 18 to 39 years (M=24.2, SD=5.7) participated in the study. A statistically significant main effect was observed for the influence of bicycle lane width on cyclist lateral position. Post-hoc testing found that cyclist position was significantly different between each lane width iteration indicating that cyclist lateral position within the bicycle lane is influenced by the available width of the bicycle lane. Statistically significant differences were also identified between participant’s position and variation in lateral position across five different perceptual countermeasure configurations. The findings of this study provide fundamental information about how cyclists choose to position themselves when riding in bicycle lanes in a validated virtual reality environment. The findings illustrate that, regardless of the width of the bicycle lane, cyclists tend to ride towards the centre of the lane and the study illustrated that use of perceptual countermeasures can be an effective measure to encourage cyclists to adopt safer cycling positions. The implications of these findings for enhanced road design to improve cyclist safety are discussed.
Keywords: bicycle simulator; bicycle lane design; perceptual countermeasures