Researchers gear up for cycling safety project

Research is now underway at USC that could lead to a much better understanding of the risks facing cyclists on our roads and what’s required to improve their safety.

Lead researcher Professor of Human Factors Paul Salmon said a new approach was needed because collisions between cars and cyclists remained a persistent road safety issue in Australia and worldwide.

“Research has shown that cyclists can be up to 12 times more at risk of death than car drivers and, in Australia specifically, cyclists make up one in five of all people injured on our roads,” he said.

“Despite significant progress in enhancing cyclist safety, vehicle-cyclist collisions remain poorly understood, partly because there is no valid and easily accessible cyclist incident reporting and learning system in Australia.”

Professor Salmon and fellow USC academics Dr Scott McLean and Dr Adam Hulme plan to develop, trial and implement a new online cyclist incident reporting and learning system – the Cyclists Report of Incidents Tool (CRIT).

This will then be used in a 12-month study of cyclist crashes and near misses to provide a better understanding of why these incidents occurred.

“The CRIT will enable reporting and analysis of cyclist collisions and near miss incidents and, in turn, enhance our understanding of the contributory factors involved in cyclist collisions,” he said.

“This enhanced knowledge will support the development of new interventions designed to enhance cyclist safety and behaviour.”

The $153,000 research project is supported by a $99,489 grant from the Australian Government’s Road Safety Innovation Fund.

Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace, who is a keen cyclist, congratulated the USC researchers on gaining Government funding for this important project.

“There were 104 applications for funding under this program, and USC’s project was one of only 13 that were successful,” he said. “That’s because this research represents the very first attempt worldwide to develop a way to report these dangerous incidents and learn from them online using the most up to date knowledge about how and why accidents happen.

“We know the life-changing consequences that come from accidents involving cyclists, and anyone who regularly gets on a bike knows what it is like to have a near miss.

“This project is going to make a difference to understanding why these accidents happen, and how we can stop them happening in the future.”

Mr Wallace said the Road Safety Innovation Fund was one of many ways the Australian Government was investing in road safety, with information on other initiatives available at www.officeofroadsafety.gov.au

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