Cyclist Safety In Queensland: Crash Factors and Countermeasures
Increasing the amount of cycling in our communities has many positive benefits. However, the perception of cycling as a dangerous form of transport may hinder desired increase. To address this issue, the State Cycle Unit, Queensland Transport, has undertaken a comprehensive analysis of bicycle crash data from 1994-1999, in order to obtain a better understanding of the causes and extent of cycling crashes. This data was obtained from the Queensland Police Service. Findings suggest that angle crashes represent a high number of incidents involving cyclists. These crashes involve two or more vehicles colliding on an orthogonal path. Contrary to accepted wisdom; mid-block accidents were also highly represented. Further analysis of these crashes revealed a variety of causes, such as driveway incidents, car door openings, and unsafe distances for overtaking. These findings have various practical implications. Specifically, strategic educational campaigns targeting the problem areas identified would assist in enhancing community awareness of the issues encountered by cyclists. Cyclist safety can also be improved through the development and implementation of engineering countermeasures. However the physical and temporal data available for this analysis limit the cost-effectiveness and suitability of countermeasure selection. It is not until further detailed data is available on cyclist exposure patterns and behaviour and on traffic environments (traffic speed, volume and composition) that the key factors leading to crashes can be determined and appropriate specific countermeasures implemented with some confidence. Through appropriate and visible education, engineering, and enforcement it is hoped that the broader community will be encouraged to cycle, making it an integral and viable part of the wider transport system.