Drivers of white vans overtake cyclists an average 10 centimetres (4 inches) closer than car drivers, according to new research.
Using a special bike fitted with a video camera and an ultrasonic distance sensor, Dr Ian Walker from the University of Bath has cycled over 300 km (186 miles) in Bristol and Salisbury over the last two months.
During this time he has been overtaken by around 2,500 vehicles, and each time the sensors recorded the type of vehicle and the distance at which it passed the bike.
In total about 200 of these vehicles were white light good vehicles, which gave an average passing distance of 1.26 metres (just over 4 feet 1 inch).
However, the drivers of the 200 black cars which overtook Dr Walker – chosen for comparison because there was a comparable number with white vans – allowed cyclists an extra 10 centimetres at 1.36 metres (4 feet 5 ½ inches).
“At the kinds of speeds and distances that cyclists are overtaken on our city streets, reducing the gap between cyclist and vehicle can have life-threatening safety implications,” said Dr Walker, a researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath.
“Why white van drivers overtake closer is not clear; it could be a range of things, from social or personality factors, to the length and width of the vans, or even the stereotypical machismo of white van man.
“Being able to measure the passing distances that different vehicle drivers give to cyclists and other vulnerable road users is the first step in identifying some of the issues that put them most at risk.
“More than 2,000 cyclists are seriously injured in road accidents each year, and 100 die. By looking scientifically at the issues that compromise their safety we can try and find ways of tackling the root causes of some of these accidents.
“Being hit by an overtaking vehicle is extremely dangerous for a cyclist. If we understood what determines how close drivers get to cyclists as they overtake, we could do something to make collisions less likely, either in the way we construct our roads or, more likely, with advice to drivers about how they should drive and to cyclists about how they should ride.”
Dr Walker will be talking about some of his early research findings at a meeting of the Bath Royal Literary & Scientific Institution, 16-18 Queen Square, Bath, on Tuesday 11 July 2006 (7.30 – 9pm).The Highway Code advises drivers to give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as they would a car when overtaking. It also advises drivers to give these vulnerable road users ‘plenty of room’.
Dr Walker is a keen cyclist and recently completed the journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
The research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of its Transportation Operations and Management research programme.
Andrew McLaughlin | alfa
Variable speed limits could reduce crashes, ease congestion in highway work zones
07.06.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia
Experiments show that a few self-driving cars can dramatically improve traffic flow
10.05.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy