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Cyclist safety focus of new research

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Curtin-Monash Accident Research Centre (C-MARC), in collaboration with Monash University Accident Research Centre, will conduct research into safer cycling in the urban road environment with the support of a grant worth $705,000.

Curtin’s Dr Lynn Meuleners, Associate Professor at C-MARC and a lead researcher on the project, said cycling was at its highest rate in more than a decade.

“This increase in cycling has seen an increase in serious injury crashes for cyclists and because of this we were keen to start a project which examines the issues surrounding cyclist safety,” Dr Meuleners said.

“The majority of cyclist crashes occur on suburban roads and incidents involving motor vehicles lead to the most serious outcomes for cyclists.

“In Australia, a motor vehicle is involved in the majority of cyclist fatalities and serious injury crashes cost the community an estimated $10.5 million each year.

“A unique feature of this project is an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach which will be used to develop and test prototype infrastructure countermeasures to improve urban cycling environments.”

Dr Meuleners said data comparison would extend knowledge of the factors that contribute to cyclist crashes and injury risk and guide the development, testing and implementation of effective road design features and cyclist facilities.

This approach would represent a fundamental shift in the approach to cyclist safety.

“The study will use a combination of in-depth bicycle crash investigations and naturalistic cycling methods to generate unique datasets including experiences of cyclists involved in crashes and those who have not been in a crash in Western Australia and Victoria,” Dr Meuleners said

“By matching cyclist behaviour and crash experience with the actual road environment, the outcomes will have substantial positive implications for the long-term individual and societal costs of cyclist injuries.

“Retrofitting roads to incorporate space for cyclists is expensive and it is important that any investment provides the greatest safety and mobility outcomes to all road users.”

Findings from the research could lead to new road designs to make cycling safer for cyclists and drivers.

The grant was provided by the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects.

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