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Dangerous drivers aren't swayed by hi-vis

26 Nov 2013 commuting safety
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How do you stop drivers passing you with only inches to spare? According to a new study published by the University of Bath, even the brightest hi-vis won’t dissuade dangerous motorists.

A researcher, Dr Ian Garrard, spent several months recording his daily commute. On some days, he wore a hi-vis vest with “novice cyclist” printed on the back; on others, he wore racing-style lycra. He even occasionally wore a vest with police-style checks and the word ‘POLITE’ emblazoned on it.

The outfit that worked best was a vest that said Dr Garrard was video-recording his journey. But, crucially, even that made no difference to the most dangerous overtakes. Whatever was worn, around 1-2% of motorists passed less than 50cm from the rider.

Dr Ian Walker from the University of Bath’s Department of Psychology analysed the data. He said:

“No matter what you wear, it will do nothing to prevent a small minority of people from getting dangerously close when they overtake you. This means the solution to stopping cyclists being hurt by overtaking vehicles has to lie outside the cyclist.
“We can’t make cycling safer by telling cyclists what they should wear. Rather, we should be creating safer spaces for cycling – perhaps by building high-quality separate cycle paths, by encouraging gentler roads with less stop-start traffic, or by making drivers more aware of how it feels to cycle on our roads and the consequences of impatient overtaking.”

The full paper will be published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention and can be downloaded from the University’s website.

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