Cyclist visibility in the spotlight

Cyclist visibility in the spotlight
Dr Philippe Lacherez's research has found that cyclists aren't as visible to motorists as they think they are. Reflective strips on knees and ankles could make a world of difference.

Cyclists could be putting themselves at greater risk of being hit by a car by not being adequately visible to motorists, especially in low-light conditions, a QUT optometry researcher has found.

Philippe Lacherez, a post-doctoral fellow in QUT's School of Optometry and Vision Science, surveyed 184, mainly Australian, cyclists who had been involved in collisions with cars about the conditions surrounding the collision.

The results showed that in many cases the driver "looked, but didn't see" the cyclist in time to avoid the collision.

"We asked the cyclist about the time of day, the weather and general visibility at the time of the collision as well as what they were wearing and the lights on their bikes," Dr Lacherez said.

"We found that crashes disproportionately occurred during low- light conditions such as at dawn, dusk or at night. Only 34 per cent of cyclists in these low-light crashes were wearing reflective and 19 per cent of them said they weren't using bicycle lights at the time of the crash.

"We're concerned that this means cyclists are making themselves more vulnerable by not being adequately visible to an oncoming driver. What is surprising is that 61 per cent of cyclists attributed the crash to driver inattention—only two of the 184 directly attributed the crash to their own visibility."

Dr Lacherez said cyclists could enhance their chances of being seen with reflective clothing and warned that fluoro clothing, while conspicuous during the day, was not visible in low light.

"Fluorescent clothing needs UV rays to be reflective and so don't work at night," he said.

"Cyclists should add reflective strips to their knees and ankles because the pedalling movement makes light from the headlights bounce back to the driver making it easier to register they are there.

"Cyclists also need to wear a reflective vest and, of course, have lights on their bike to increase their chances of being seen in low-light as well as at night."

"Our previous research has clearly demonstrated that when add these strategic reflective markings it leads to a large increase in visibility, which in turn leads to motorists recognising a cyclist on the road much earlier. This simple step could make cycling in low-light much safer."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study prompts safety precautions for cyclists

Jul 27, 2012

Interviews with cyclists hospitalised following road crashes have reinforced the importance of measures such as wearing helmets and bike lights, and better interaction between all road users.

ICHSTM: cameras contributing to driver/Cyclist tensions

Jul 23, 2013

(HealthDay)—The increasing use of cycling as a form of transport, coupled with advances in lightweight camera technology and video distribution have contributed to tensions between cyclists and drivers, ...

Why do cyclists run red lights?

Jul 31, 2012

Almost 40 per cent of cyclists have reported committing red light infringements, but fines should only be part of the strategy to improve safety, according to new research.

Cyclist's benefit from helmets clearly shown

May 06, 2013

Cyclists who don't wear a helmet are almost six times more likely to suffer a severe head injury than their helmeted counterparts, according University of Sydney research published in the latest issue of the Medical Journal of ...

Recommended for you

Initiative to emphasize concussions are treatable

1 hour ago

At a time when the national concussion conversation instills fear and uncertainty among parents and athletes at all levels, the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program is working to change the current discussion where two ...

England's NHS appeals for more government funds

1 hour ago

Leaders of England's state-funded National Health Service (NHS) warned on Thursday that billions of pounds in extra funds were needed to maintain patient care, laying down the gauntlet to politicians ahead of May's general ...

Lose the weight, not the potatoes

2 hours ago

A new study demonstrates that people can eat potatoes and still lose weight." Potatoes, Glycemic Index, and Weight Loss in Free-Living Individuals: Practical Implications" is now available through free access from the Journal of ...

Team-based approach can improve hypertension control

3 hours ago

(HealthDay)—A team-based approach using evidence-based principles can be incorporated into practice workflow to improve hypertension control, according to a practice story published by the American Medical ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PeterD
1 / 5 (2) Oct 02, 2013
On bright sunny days, trees and buildings cast black shadows. Someone dressed in dark cloths is invisible to elderly drivers when they are in these shadows.