Lane filtering and situation awareness in motorcyclists: An on-road proof of concept study
In Victoria, as in other jurisdictions, there is very little research on the potential risks and benefits of lane filtering by motorcyclists, particularly from a road safety perspective. This on-road proof of concept study aimed to investigate whether and how lane filtering influences motorcycle rider situation awareness at intersections and to address factors that need to be considered for the design of a larger study in this area. Situation awareness refers to road users’ understanding of ‘what is going on’ around them and is a critical commodity for safe performance. Twenty-five experienced motorcyclists rode their own instrumented motorcycle around an urban test route in Melbourne whilst providing verbal protocols. Lane filtering occurred in 27% of 43 possible instances in which there were one or more vehicles in the traffic queue and the traffic lights were red on approach to the intersection. A network analysis procedure, based on the verbal protocols provided by motorcyclists, was used to identify differences in motorcyclist situation awareness between filtering and non-filtering events. Although similarities in situation awareness across filtering and non-filtering motorcyclists were found, the analysis revealed some differences. For example, filtering motorcyclists placed more emphasis on the timing of the traffic light sequence and on their own actions when moving to the front of the traffic queue, whilst non-filtering motorcyclists paid greater attention to traffic moving through the intersection and approaching from behind. Based on the results of this study, the paper discusses some methodological and theoretical issues to be addressed in a larger study comparing situation awareness between filtering and non-filtering motorcyclists.