Lessons from In-depth Crash Investigations for Cyclists

Traffic Management and Infrastructure – Lessons from In-depth Crash Investigation

Austroads has published a new report, Traffic Management and Infrastructure – Lessons from In-depth Crash Investigation, Austroads report number AP-R418-12 which looks at infrastructure and traffic management issues that where identified in an examination of approximately 700 crash investigations conducted in metropolitan and rural areas of South Australia. Cyclists get a mention in the report, albeit a brief mention.

For those interested the report, Traffic Management and Infrastructure – Lessons from In-depth Crash Investigation, which was prepared by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) at Adelaide University can be download from my Dropbox.

The report recommends in the context of cyclists in metropolitan areas that:

  • Unless kerbside parking can be effectively eliminated, segregation should be provided for cyclists on arterial roads;
  • A study into the interaction between cyclists and vehicles in wide kerbside traffic lanes should be conducted

No recommendations are made in respect of cyclists and rural areas.

Cyclists are discussed in the report in two areas: a section titled “Cyclists” and a section titled “Kerbside lane conflicts.” Both sections are repeated below. That is it for the 58 page report. WHat is disappointing from my perspective is the lack of mention of roundabouts, which are a known issue for cyclists yet get no mention in this report. This seems very odd or maybe they have no problems with them in South Australia.

3.2.2 Cyclists

There were a variety of cases involving collisions with cyclists. Any road environment that eliminates side friction in the form of parked cars and better segregates passing vehicles would be beneficial for cyclists. Clearways and bicycle lanes may provide some benefit however, when they are not in operation, conflict situations increase dramatically.

It is interesting to note that in three of the cases reviewed, the fact that the cyclist was looking over their right shoulder for gaps in traffic due to oncoming obstructions was a major contributor to the collisions. Adequate segregation would eliminate these types of crashes as well as cyclists being struck by passing vehicles.

Shared kerbside lanes are discussed in greater detail in Section 3.4.2.

3.4.2 Kerbside lane conflicts

Several cases highlighted issues in relation to wide kerbside lanes on multi-lane roads. The rationale for wide kerbside lanes primarily centres around the ability for cyclists to share the road space with passing motorists. The type present in Adelaide permits just enough space for passenger cars to pass other passenger cars parked parallel to the main road however the situation is complicated by drivers alighting from vehicles and then becoming pedestrians, cyclists caught between parked vehicles and passing vehicles and judgement issues for wide vehicles or cars towing wide trailers or caravans. In effect, any parked vehicle becomes a static hazard extremely close to through traffic.

The fact that the wide kerbside lane exists may actually encourage motorists to commit to passing manoeuvres rather than adopting a more conservative approach. It is suggested that further study is conducted to establish an optimal kerbside lane width and configuration that encourages motorists to take a more conservative approach when faced with the above situations. Furthermore, it is highly desirable that off-street car parking solutions be strategically and systematically pursued in the long term. It is interesting to note that in Western Australia, a culture has developed of avoiding kerbside parking on main roads. A comparison of the benefits of this scenario against other jurisdictions would be informative.

2 Responses to Lessons from In-depth Crash Investigations for Cyclists

  1. Heinrich Benz November 6, 2012 at 1:44 PM #

    I agree that this is a pretty uninformative and unimportant treatment of major bicycle crashes

    • Aushiker November 6, 2012 at 9:36 PM #

      It does seem that way doesn’t. I got the impression that cycling was only included as a minor secondary issue or a distraction. The focus is elsewhere for sure.

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