Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do you feel safe

An recent article on a cyclist who got run over by a bus got me thinking about what risks there are in my cycle to work. The story was of a cyclist who got run over by a bus when they made an error and got launched over their handlebars into the path of an oncoming bus. Similar could happen to me on the Victoria Bridge if a passing car comes too close and clips my handlebar. I would be under an oncoming bus in no time.

Another high risk section of my ride is the steep, narrow and winding track that links the SE Bikeway to Lower River Terrace. Cyclists come down there fast, it is narrow and then most of us launch into Lower River Terrace at speed. I wonder how many crashes occur there without ever being reported.
The University of NSW is undertaking research into the safety of cycling by enrolling 2,000 cyclists to report near misses and crashes over a year. Read this article on the study. The Safer Cycling Study web site is here. There is no data available on their research to date and I look forward to seeing the results.

This is a truly excellent bit of research that needs to be replicated in every city as a permanent program. Anyone with experience in workplace health and safety knows that safety is best improved by reporting and addressing near-misses and risks. Responding to incidents means someone needs to get hurt before something gets done. By logging near misses or minor incidents from cyclists the city can develop a comprehensive risk map for cyclists and more reliably identify and prioritise cycling 'black spots'.

Any researchers out there interested in getting something like this started in Brisbane, Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast?

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