Research carried out in 2001 examined the causes of cycle crashes on roads, footpaths, and cycle ways throughout New Zealand, through a survey of injured cyclists. Crashes due to impact with a moving motor vehicle were excluded, as the emphasis was on the role of road features in these crashes.
Of these crashes 28% were due to road features, mainly loose gravel and irregularities in the road surface. Other factors were the cyclists' own actions, cycle problems, actions of others, and crashing when trying to avoid collision with another person or object. Most crashes occurred in fine weather and in daylight, on straight roads, away from intersections, in urban areas.
Two cycling crash patterns emerged from the study: crashes in urban areas mainly occurred when cyclists were using their cycle for transport, while crashes in 100km/h speed zones mainly involved those using their cycle for sports training.
The study recommended minimising loose gravel on those parts of roads where cyclists ride, defining the surface irregularities that are unsafe for cyclists, and understanding better the nature and requirements of road riding for the different user groups (for transport, sports, leisure, and for younger cyclists in particular).
Keywords: accidents, crashes, cycle injury, cycle safety, cycling, New Zealand, road safety, roads, survey, traffic