The pedal study: Factors associated with bicycle crashes and injury severity in the ACT

The George Institute for Global Health has a released a paper titled The Pedal Study: Factors Associated with bicycle crashes and injury severity in the ACT which summarises the findings of a study into the characteristics of bicycle crashes in different cycling environments in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and the investigation into the type and severity of injuries associated with the type of clothing worn. The objective of the study is inform strategies to reduce bicycle crashes and the severity of the associated injury.

The George Institute for Global Health


The pedal study has been released as a final report with a July 2011 publication date.

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The pedal study by Liz De Rome, Soufiane Boufous, Teresa Senserrick, Dre Richardson and Rebecca Ivers concluded that …

[T]his study confirms the value of on-road lanes reserved exclusively for cyclists as a means of reducing their crash and injury rates but raises questions as to the safety of cycling on shared paths and pedestrian areas.

The number of crashes involving pedestrians and the relatively high speeds of some of the cyclists on shared paths and footpaths suggests that the regulation of cycling in shared areas should be reviewed, formally recognized as a part of the road reserve and appropriate speed limits applied. Such measures would be in the interests of cyclists and pedestrians, as cyclists who crashed on shared paths sustained higher average injury severity scores than those injured in any other road environment.

The high proportion of crashes between cyclists is also a matter of concern as almost half of all multi-vehicle crashes were between bicycles. Whereas better traffic management such as centre lines and warning signs on shared paths should reduce such conflicts, it is apparent that behavioural factors such as speed and riding in close packed groups should also be addressed. Other cyclist dependent factors associated with crashes included alcohol, usage of shoe cleats, carrying unbalanced loads such as back packs and shopping bags and poor bicycle maintenance. 

The study found that full body coverage including gloves, shoes, long sleeved tops and full length pants, regardless of the materials used, provided a significant benefit in preventing or reducing injuries. 

Consideration should be given to undertaking a large population study (i.e. Case control study) to examine risk factors of cyclist crashes in the ACT in order to identify appropriate countermeasures. The study would provide an opportunity to further examine the incidence of conflicts with pedestrians and the impact of factors such as alcohol use, helmet use, road infrastructure, protective and conspicuous clothing on cyclist crash and injury risk.

For those interested in the paper, a copy can be download here (PDF) and a list of related research can be found here.  The full citation for the paper is:

De Rome, L., Boufous, S., Senserrick, T,, Richardson, D., & Ivers, R. (2011). The pedal study: Factors Associated with bicycle crashes and injury severity in the ACT.  The George Institute for Global Health.

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