University calls for drivers and cyclists for research study

Researchers in Southampton are developing training courses in partnership with Cycling UK

The University of Southampton has issued a call for local motorists and cyclists to take part in a study that aims to make the roads safer for cyclists.

The university’s Transport Research Group is partnering with the charity Cycling UK on developing new training programmes to help road users understand risky behaviour and increase their awareness of other road users.

Focus groups will be held where participants will talk about their views on a number of questions and scenarios, and the university wants to recruit cyclists, motorists, and people who both drive and cycle, to take part.

As part of the research they want cyclists, drivers and people who use both bicycles and cars on the roads to take part in some focus groups where they will discuss their views on a series of questions and scenarios.

The university says that while cyclists account for just 1.4 per cent of journeys in Southampton, they account for 16 per cent of all road traffic casualties in the city, with an annual average of 124 deaths or injuries.

Funded by the Road Safety Trust, the Cross-modal Intervention To Improve Cycling Awareness Levels (CRITICAL) project will help researchers and Cycling UK to devise separate training programmes for cyclists and drivers.

Both programmes will include theoretical and practical sessions, the latter either on the road or in a simulator.

Previously, the project has seen motorists and cyclists use GoPro cameras to record their journeys, while explaining their interactions with other road users as they travel.

The study is being led by Dr Katie Plant, Lecturer in Human Factors in Engineering at the University of Southampton, who said “For most of us, training in road safety is limited to taking our cycling proficiency test at school and passing our driving test.

“This makes it very easy for our knowledge of traffic laws and the Highway Code to diminish over time.

“A high proportion of road accidents involve cyclists and drivers, two groups who are traditionally in conflict with each other.

“It is really important therefore that we get both groups involved to find out where the gaps in awareness lie.”

Senior research assistant Matthew Webster, who happens to be an elite level cyclist, will lead the focus groups.

“By taking part in the group discussions, the Southampton community can help us develop a major programme for cyclist and driver safety,” he explained.

“As well as reducing accidents, we can hopefully create an environment where more people feel confident about making their journeys by bike and can enjoy the health benefits of cycling.”

Anyone who lives in the Southampton area and wishes to participate in the study can contact him on M.Webster [at] soton.ac.uk.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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