Why Near Misses Matter – Rachel Aldred at January Bike Forum

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Rachel Aldred attended the Bristol Bike Forum on Thursday 21st Jan 2016 to give an update on The Near Miss Project. She was last here in November 2015 briefing officers of Bristol Council and we were invited along. Some of her key messages were:

Near misses matter

  • Near misses may predict at least some types of collision risk
  • Growing evidence that near misses strongly affect cycling experience
  • Clarify relationships between ‘perceived’, ‘experienced’, and ‘objective’ risk

Near misses are very common

Comparing injury and non-injury incident rates

 Type of Incident Rate per year, regular UK commuting cyclist
 Death 0.000125 (once every 8,000 yrs)
Reported serious injury0.0025 (once every 400 yrs)
Reported slight injury0.015 (once every 67 yrs)
Any injury (reported or not)0.05 (once every 20 yrs)
‘Very scary’ incident60
Any non-injury incident450

Speed and size of vehicles make near misses more scary

  • Speed is the variable most strongly associated with incident rates. For every additional 1 mph of the cyclist there is a 10% reduction in incidents reported.
  • Speed is the key factor in the gender variation in reporting (women report more near misses than men)
  • Incidents involving large motor vehicles (HGVs, buses) are scarier than those not, and incidents not involving any motor vehicles the least scary
  • Driver behaviour factors fairly similar to those in Stats19 – but additional qualitative insight from cyclist’s perspective

Other points:

  • US evidence that “Share the road” messaging can be interpreted by drivers as “that cyclist should get out of my way and share with me”
  • ‘TfL reporting big turnover in cycling’. Folk take it up but then stop. There are big implications for cycle promotion. Does training make a difference? Not enough evidence at present (2016).