The survey is the final stage of Marilyn Johnson’s PhD study, which has involved the detailed observation and analysis of cyclist and driver behaviour through the use of ‘helmet-cam’ devices attached to commuter cyclists’ helmets.
Ms Johnson, whose research is co-funded by the Amy Gillett Foundation and the Monash University Accident Research Foundation, said all Australian drivers and cyclists were invited to participate in a cyclist safety survey.
“Already in Victoria this year, there have been four cyclist fatalities, and the proportion of cyclist fatalities has doubled: in 2009, cyclist fatalities were 2.0 per cent of the total road toll; we are now only in March and cyclist fatalities for 2010 are already 5.7 per cent of the total Victorian road toll. Also, cyclist serious injuries are increasing with hospital admissions increasing by 9 per cent on average since 1999,” Ms Johnson said.
“With these statistics, it is clear more needs to be done to address the underlying issues that are affecting the safety of bike riders on the roads. The benefits of bike riding are well known and promoted, but more, and everyday more cars and bikes squeeze onto roads — but is it safe?”
In the survey, drivers and cyclists will be asked questions about how they interact on the roads, their understanding of cycling infrastructure and how to safely share the road. Respondents will have opportunities to provide details about their experiences on the road.
Findings from the three-year research project are expected to be announced in November and will inform the education and training programs developed by the Amy Gillett Foundation to improve the safety of cyclists and the relationship between cyclists and drivers.
“I invite everyone, whether they regularly cycle or don’t ride at all, to complete this survey, as it will really assist us to gain a clear, accurate picture of the factors contributing to cycling accidents and fatalities and the kinds of interventions and strategies that might make a difference,” Ms Johnson said.
“Responses will be used to build a broader picture of how riding bicycles on our roads affects all road users and what needs to be done to make cycling safer for cyclists and for drivers,” Ms Johnson said.
“It’s important that we gain a balanced picture of how cyclists and drivers interact and the impact the growing number of cyclists on our roads is having on safety.”
The survey is available online at the MUARC website or to request a paper version contact MUARC on +61 3 9905 4371.
For more information contact Marilyn Johnson on 0423 160 183 or Jane Castles on +61 3 9903 4842 or 0417 568 781.