THE INTERPLAY OFDRIVING STYLE WITH TECHNOLOGYAND INFRASTRUCTURE
In addition to the characteristics of the cyclist, the type of vehicle overtaking the cyclist also played a role. Buses and heavy goods vehicles were the types of vehicle that overtook significantly more closely to the cyclist. This is probably due to the fact that these vehicles require more time to complete an overtaking maneuver due to their dimensions and slow acceleration, and that they also need to pull further into the other lane than other vehicles in order to overtake. Since long gaps in oncoming trafic are rarer, these vehicles overtake closer to the cyclist. In addition to this, there is also a risk that drivers of larger vehicles may not be able to see a cyclist at all times during an overtaking maneuver, which leads to them pulling back into their lane earlier even though the cyclist is still riding alongside their vehicle. This example demonstrates particularly clearly that separate bicycle paths are essential to increasing cyclist safety.
In their study, Horswill, M. S. et al. (2015) tackle in more detail the interplay between driving style and technology and infrastructure. Generally speaking, extending the cycleway network reduces the number of accidents that occur in terms of mileage. When the cycle infrastructure enables safe separation of cyclists from fast motorized traffic, this improves cyclist safety. This effect is particularly noticeable at junctions, though on the other hand, infrastructural separation has proven particularly difficult in such areas. In turn, increased safety results in a higher number of cyclists. Alongside changes to cycle infrastructure, measures that make it easier to clearly assess the trafic on a road so that vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists are not overlooked as easily are also useful. Driver assistance functions in the motor vehicle that make it easier for drivers to notice cyclists and pedestrians could also help with this. Despite the fact that cyclists are not generally permitted to ride on the sidewalk – at least not in Germany – measures such as restrictions and prohibitions on parking on sidewalks, together with stricter sanctions for those who disregard such regulations, would also be effective in increasing the visibility of users of twowheeled vehicles.
Hamilton-Baillie, B. et al (2008) also tackle the issue of communication behaviors between different groups of road users, and present the concept of a “shared space”. This concept aims to integrate road users in a single place without impairing safety, mobility, or accessibility. In particular, it aims to improve road safety through mutual consideration of others. Communication between road users plays the key role here and is the top priority, as all road users have equal rights. The features of this model include the principle of mixing all road users together and thus doing away with most signs and restrictions, as all road users would follow implicit rules. This principle is by no means new, and has in fact been practiced in a range of towns and cities for several decades. Positive examples of the application of this concept include the Laweiplein junction in Drachten (Netherlands) and Blackett Street in Newcastle (England).
Typical design techniques for shared spaces include keeping the all parts of the space the same height so that pedestrians and users of motor vehicles and non-motorized vehicles all interact on the same level and the space feels like a single, self-contained area, and subtle markings that identify the different areas. The removal of most of the signs and traffic lights promotes organic communication and reduces speeds. Shared space usually results in a successful restructuring of the way a road is used: There are fewer traffic jams, and the lower speeds mean that there are fewer accidents and that the consequences of said accidents are less severe. There is also evidence that shared spaces increase the satisfaction levels of all road users. However, traffic planners should always thoroughly assess whether it makes sense to implement a shared space in a specific location before doing so.