ROAD SAFETY: Are Afternoons a Risky Time for Cyclists?

Afternoon Driving

A recent posting on the “Enjoy the Road” blog reports on a survey of 500 Western Australian drivers undertaken by the insurance company, SGIO. The surveyed revealed that “the afternoon is when drivers feel the most frazzled and this can lead to ignoring road rules and the speed limit” and it got me thinking about my own commuting and whether the mornings or afternoon rides where the more stressful.

I think it would be fair to say that I feel the “aggro in the air” more often on the afternoon rides, particularly on West Coast Drive along the coast than I do in the morning. To check the veracity of my thinking, I reviewed my incident videos as posted to YouTube and found 70% of them related to incidents in the afternoon.

The survey highlighted a few more interesting points about driver behaviour and why cyclists should consider their route and approach to afternoon riding:

  • Men were more likely to ignore road rules when stressed at the wheel with 42 per cent of men saying stress affected their concentration compared with 35 per cent of women. Young drivers aged 18 – 24 years old were the most likely age group to ignore road rules when stressed.
  • Rob Cory of SGIO stated that 90 per cent of people admitted to speeding when stressed, while others admitted to tailgating, not merging correctly, cutting other drivers off or frequently switching lanes.

Maybe time to re-think those afternoon commute routes and if possible the time we ride?  Mind you cyclists can also be stressed so riding the bicycle paths can also be risky. Of course one would hope that getting on the bike distresses oneself pretty quickly!

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