Although the temperatures in DuPage County are not currently conducive to riding a bicycle for everyday transportation to and from work, or to your neighborhood shopping market, a new study published in Accident Analysis & Prevention suggests that getting more cyclists on the roads could help to reduce the rate of overall traffic collisions among motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. It may be difficult to consider getting out on a bicycle in the winter months, especially in Illinois, but the study provides helpful information to consider as we slowly look ahead to warmer months and as we consider ways of reducing motor vehicle crashes in the New Year.
Bicycling Yourself Can Lead You to Take More Care Behind the Wheel
How can getting more bicyclists out on the roads in DuPage County and across the country reduce the total rate of motor vehicle collisions with bicyclists? The premise of the study is this: the more that drivers experience what it is like to ride a bicycle and to share the road with other motorists, the more likely those individuals will be to take particular care when they are behind the wheel.
The study looked at 42 different drivers, including some with personal bicycling experience and some without it. The researchers engaged those drivers in “a change detection ‘flicker task,’ which is like those picture frames where you try to spot what has changed between two seemingly identical images.” The subjects of the study looked at 60 different road scenes involving different scenarios and the presence (or absence) of cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, and/or road signs. What did the researchers determine? In short, drivers who are also cyclists noticed details that would likely help in car accident prevention, such as detecting changes like the sudden appearance of a bicycle.
Serious Injury Crashes Caused By a Failure to Notice Roadway Hazards
If we can get more drivers to notice hazards and to properly detect cyclists and pedestrians on the roadways, the study suggests that we can reduce motor vehicle collisions—at least by a noticeable percentage. To be sure, approximately 12 percent of all serious injury collisions result from a driver’s failure to identify road hazards or to scan for pedestrians and/or cyclists.
At the same time, it is possible that drivers who are also cyclists have not necessarily learned to better identify roadway hazards through cycling. According to Dr. Vanessa Beanland, the lead author of the study, “there might be a chicken-egg scenario at work here, in that people who ride bikes in traffic are potentially willing to do so because they’re naturally more adept at processing their surroundings quickly.” In other words, there may be no direct correlation between riding a bicycle in an urban area and becoming a more adept driver.
Getting more drivers onto bicycles, the study intimates, may help to improve their “hazard perception” skills. However, if a driver is not keen to get on a bike, or if hazard perception skills are not in fact learned through cycling, there may be other ways to improve a person’s hazard perception skills, as well, that do not necessarily involve cycling. This avenue of research remains open for additional study.
Seek Advice from a DuPage County Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you care about was hurt in a motor vehicle crash, an experienced DuPage County car accident attorney can help. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today.
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