Visibility limitations make cycling at night particularly dangerous. We previously reported cyclists' perceptions of their own visibility at night and identified clothing configurations that made them feel visible. In this study we sought to determine whether these self-perceptions reflect actual visibility when wearing these clothing configurations. In a closed-road driving environment, cyclists wore black clothing, a fluorescent vest, a reflective vest, or a reflective vest plus ankle and knee reflectors.
Roundabouts are a popular choice for intersection control around New Zealand, particularly for replacing priority controlled intersections where traffic volumes are high and safety has deteriorated. However, safety problems can occur at poorly designed roundabouts, particularly where speed is not managed well and where cycle volumes are high.
Despite their generally good record, safety deficient roundabout designs have received considerable attention from safety auditors over the last 10 or so years. This culminated in the publication of the guide The ins and outs of roundabouts. This guide lists problems encountered in 50 safety audit reports. The guide lists visibility and geometric design features, particularly inadequate deflection and marking, as problem areas. The guide states that ‘the safe and efficient movement of traffic relies on good unobstructed lines of sight’. The provision of good visibility at roundabouts follows the guidance in the Austroads Guide to traffic engineering practice part 6: roundabouts. This practice, which occurs in New Zealand and Australia, differs to practice in other parts of the world, particularly Europe, where visibility is often restricted to reduce speeds and improve safety. This discrepancy was a major motivator for this research project.
Cycling is a sustainable mode of travel and an alternative to motor vehicle trips, particularly for shorter trips (less than 5km). Government transport strategies, including the New Zealand Transport Strategy and Getting there – on foot, by cycle, encourage the development of cycling and walking plans and infrastructure improvements that encourage more ‘active’ mode trips. While health and transport benefits are likely to result from promoting more cycling, the risk of having a crash while cycling is typically higher than while travelling as a driver or passenger in a motor vehicle. This is of concern to cyclists, potential cyclists and organisations involved in road safety.
The challenge for transport engineers and planners is to create a transportation environment that is as safe as possible for cyclists. This can be achieved through a series of measures, including, where practical, reducing traffic volumes and speeds, building on-road cycle lanes and intersection facilities, and constructing of off-roadway cycle paths. The safety benefit of most of these measures has not, to date, been quantified in New Zealand. Internationally, the research is also limited, particular in terms of the direct relationship between crashes and various roadway features and traffic conditions. This study extends previous work on the relationship between crashes and volumes of cycles and motor vehicles to the development of crash prediction models for on-roadway cycle facilities at intersections and along road links. The effects of speed and off-roadway paths have been assessed based on overseas research.