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Research Report 589 Improving safety for people who cycle on rural roads

Published: | Category: Safety, security and public health , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

This study aimed to determine how to cost-effectively improve safety for people who cycle on low-volume rural roads in New Zealand.

Following a literature review and Crash Analysis System consultation, two treatments were identified for on-road trial:

1) Advisory signs on passing distance
2) A 2-1 layout (adapted to the New Zealand context).

The latter became a shared space arrow treatment after the 2-1 component was discontinued for safety reasons.

The key performance measures of vehicle approach speed, vehicle passing distance, and bicycle speed were measured using an integrated suite of instrumentation on four bicycles.

No significant differences were found between either of the treatments and baseline on any of these measures; however, Metrocount data indicated that there was a significant 2km/h speed reduction in the signage treatment area.

The instrumentation data provided baseline measures of approach speed (76.8km/h), passing distance (2.12m) and bicycle speed (23.67km/h). 

Recommendations for future work on cyclist safety on low-volume rural roads include the development of standardised share the road signage, the further adaptation of the 2-1 design to the New Zealand context, the implementation of a robust communication and engagement strategy for innovative research, and baseline data collection to better inform countermeasures.

Keywords: bicycle safety, improving road cycling safety, low-volume rural road cycling, New Zealand trial of 2-1 lane layout, rural cycling safety

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: June 2016
  • Reference: 589
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-478-44550-3
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