Does Being Seen Really Make Cyclists Safer ON THE…
The vests, with arrows directing traffic from pedestrians and cyclists away, have shown to lessen the number of traffic mishaps including these organizations. Gordon Lovegrove, a UBC Okanagan associate professor in the School of Engineering, suggests a number of visual reinforcement, coupled with driver education ingrained into safety apparel, may curb unnecessary accidents and fatalities.
Almost half of the world’s traffic fatalities are pedestrians and cyclists based on the World Health Organization. Even though improved vehicle designs and systems can protect motorists, vulnerable road users (VRUs) -mostly cyclists and walkers-rely primarily on infrastructure systems such as separated sidewalks and cycle track networks to lessen their risk and navigate roads securely, he clarifies. Lovegrove and his industry collaborator, Takuro Shoji, began their research project by reviewing previous projects centered on the role communication has in the basic safety of vulnerable road users.
Using proprietary high-visibility bicycling apparel that features an arrow symbol, the team of research workers investigated cyclists’ perception of driver reactions. Although the research was based on a relatively small sample size, results reveal that transferring traffic gave cyclists more respect by slowing their speeds and providing wider berths when the riders were wearing reflective apparel with an arrow image. Lovegrove’s research included road tests using cyclists with and without presence vests, as well vests with differing graphics or communication tools. A paid survey also determined participants showed a preference for the arrow-vest design, including comments that it was felt to be the very best and conveyed a safer ‘keep left’ message.
Lovegrove highlights that ‘be safe, be seen’ is a statement often used when it comes to the safety of VRUs. For example, cyclists have been advised-or in some jurisdictions mandated-to use helmets, front side and rear lights, reflectors and brightly-coloured clothing with retroreflective markings. He provides that improvements to infrastructure for VRUs need more investments. However, many government authorities and road specialists lack capital or have not managed to get important to put into action full VRU safety measures, with many spaces in infrastructure and systems.
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