USC research finds road design changes could improve cyclist safety

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USC’s Associate Professor Paul Salmon with his award

A University of the Sunshine Coast expert in accident research has won a national award for his on-road study of cyclist behaviour and situation awareness.

Associate Professor of Human Factors Paul Salmon leads the University of the Sunshine Coast Accident Research (USCAR) team, which aims to conduct research to inform the design of systems that optimise human performance and safety.

Dr Salmon’s study, ‘Investigating The Factors Influencing Cyclist Behaviour And Awareness: An On-Road Study Of Cyclist Situation Awareness’, highlighted the key role of road design in enhancing cyclist safety.

It won the $1,000 Peter Vulcan Award for Best Research Paper at the recent Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference in Brisbane.

“My study involved 20 participants cycling around a 15km route while thinking aloud to describe their cognitive processes (situation awareness and decision-making) as they cycled,” he said.

He said analysis of the data, which included forward and rear video, revealed the potential for cyclists’ awareness of other road users to be degraded.

“This was due to additional situation awareness and decision-making requirements placed on them in certain road environments, such as intersections,” Dr Salmon said.

“Interestingly, a lot of these issues were design-induced in that the road environments were not tailored towards cyclists’ needs.”

The collaborative paper with Monash University and Heriot Watt University discussed strategies for improving cyclist safety through road system design.

It was conducted as part of research funded by an ARC (Australian Research Council) Discovery grant, in which Dr Salmon is investigating how road system design can support safe interactions between drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.

Dr Salmon, previously of Monash University, said the Peter Vulcan Award was prestigious for USC and recognised its fast-growing expertise in accident research.

It is awarded to the best research paper at the annual conference according to criteria including scientific/technical merit, potential contribution to road safety, and originality of approach.

University Of The Sunshine Coast
Friday 11th of October 2013

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