Sunday, August 10 2008 @ 10:32 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
“We…have created an environment that makes it very convenient for people to be inactive, and subsequently develop unhealthy behaviours. The only way to combat this is to make it equally convenient for people to become active, and moreover, easier for them to inherit a better quality of life”.
Libby Darlison, Chair, Premiers Council on Active Living, NSW.
SOME KEY POINTS:
- The more cyclists there are, the safer it becomes.
- Motorists behaviour largely controls the likelihood of collisions with people walking and cycling.
- Comparison of pedestrian and cyclist collision frequencies between communities and over time periods need to reflect the amount of walking and bicycling.
- Efforts to enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety, including traffic engineering and legal policies, need to be examined for their ability to modify motorist behavior.
- Policies that increase walking and cycling appear to be an effective route to improving road safety.
A Victorian Parliamentary inquiry into violence associated with motor vehicle use received a large number of submissions from the cycling community reporting instances of road violence. Several submissions suggested that the presence of cyclists on the road was a trigger for road violence against cyclists (Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, 2005). Driver knowledge of the road rules as they relate to people on bicycles has been found to be generally poor. Only one in five (19%) of drivers knew that it was legal for cyclists to ride two abreast, 44% that cyclists were allowed to ride along a clearway, and 63% that cyclists were allowed to occupy a whole lane (Rissel et al, 2002). Importantly, this lack of knowledge regarding vital aspects of the road rules has been found to be associated with a negative attitude amongst motorists towards people on bicycles (Rissel et al, 2002). The hostile reception reported by bicyclists from motorists is a consistent theme when surveying people who ride bicycles. Daley et al (2007) found that many occasional and regular riders perceived the average Sydney driver as impatient and intolerant. Some thought drivers were more likely to respect cyclist’s safety and rights if bicycles were more frequently encountered on the roads and this is supported by Robinson (2005) who found that the more cyclists there are, the safer it becomes. Riders described altercations where motorists took out frustrations on them, often triggered by the motorist’s view that their journey was delayed by the rider. Riders felt there was a skewed driver perception that a cyclist held up traffic, rather than seeing them as a legitimate part of the traffic system. It is this lack of acknowledgement towards people on bicycles that has been found by Greig (2001) to be a significant deterrent towards regular cycling.