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How much does disregard of road rules contribute to bicycle-vehicle collisions?

Schramm, A, Rakotonirainy, A, Haworth, N (Peer reviewed)

Cycling

ACRS conference 2008

Recent media articles on cyclist safety have supported the contention that many car drivers regard cyclists as risk-takers who violate traffic signals and show a disregard for road rules. There is little empirical evidence, however, regarding the nature and frequency of risk -taking behaviours by cyclists, and the extent to which this contributes to cyclist crashes. We do know that the social cost of bicycle crashes in Queensland in 2006 is estimated at $35.4 million, with the Brisbane area contributing over half the cost alone.

This paper presents a preliminary investigation of the factors that lead to Police-reported bicycle-vehicle collisions, focussing on the extent to which disregard for road rules contributes to these collisions. Preliminary results indicate that cyclists were the at-fault vehicle in 35% of reported crashes. When considering the age of the cyclist, younger cyclists were more likely than older cyclists to be at-fault, with those aged 5-11 responsible in 82% of crashes while those aged 30-39 were at-fault in 19% of crashes. In 77% of crashes involving right-of-way conflicts, vehicles were considered at-fault. The implications of the results for the development of age-appropriate road safety interventions will be discussed.