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Exploring an application of the Safe System Approach to a set of self-reported cycling crashes.

Shaw, L, Poulos, R, Hatfield, J, Rissel, C (Peer reviewed)

Cycling

ACRS conference 2012

Introduction: Vulnerable road users are over-represented in traffic injuries and fatalities. Police reports and hospitalisation data grossly underestimate bicycle crashes, and data on causation are limited. In Australia, the Safe System Approach (SSA) has been adopted for motor vehicles and is an important paradigm for road safety. However, the SSA does not appear to have been explicitly applied in policy documents that address cycling safety.

Methods: We undertook a thematic analysis of cyclists’ perceived causes of sustained collisions or falls as reported in 145 interviews with participants of the Safer Cycling Study. The interview was structured around the four key areas of the SSA.

Results: Qualitative data analysis indicates that cyclists perceived behaviour (road use factors) as being the greatest contributor to crashes, followed by infrastructure (road and roadside factors). Cyclists rarely reported vehicle factors or speed as contributory factors.

Conclusions: Consideration of the four key areas of the SSA provides a useful framework for analysing cyclists’ self-reported crash causation and may assist in the identification of crash countermeasures.