Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details


hazard-perception test for cyclists

A hazard perception test, designed to evaluate the perceptual and decision-making skills of cyclists, is currently being developed and evaluated at the University of Ghent. More insights in the visual behavior of bicyclists and how they interpret traffic situations could lead to primary prevention measures such as better infrastructure and adapted traffic education for children.

The introduction of a hazard perception (or awareness) test for learner car drivers has been positively evaluated in the UK and other countries show interest to introduce a similar test as well. The test consists of driving situations, involving other road users and is shot from a car driver’s point of view. The learner drivers are asked to click a computer mouse when a hazard (‘something that will cause the driver to change speed, direction or stop’) is detected. The general purpose of a hazard perception test is to evaluate if learner drivers are able to foresee hazards in realistic traffic situations. This test has been thoroughly tested for car drivers, but has (to our knowledge) not yet been applied for learner cyclists. However, learner cyclists might benefit even more from a similar test than learner car drivers since children lack the experience and knowledge, necessary to anticipate to developing hazards. Unfortunately, it is hard to determine when a child is able to anticipate, interpret and react correctly to hazardous traffic situations.

Therefore we are currently developing and evaluating a hazard perception for cyclists. By applying eye tracking technology to this test we aim to gather new insights in the visual behavior of experienced and inexperienced bicyclists which can then be used to develop a hazard perception training.

In a first phase we try to reveal differences in how experienced cyclists and learner cyclists interpret different traffic situations. For this, we filmed various hazardous situations from the view of a cyclist. Experienced adult cyclists and young learner cyclists were then asked to watch the film clips and click with a computer mouse when they think a hazard was present or developing on the computer screen. Meanwhile an eye tracking device records where the participants were looking on the screen. Afterwards participants are asked why they did or did not click and to rate how dangerous they thought the traffic situation was. Results of this test should give us more insights in how traffic situations are perceived by experienced and novice cyclists.

Next, the results of the hazard perception test will be used to develop a hazard perception training. This PC-based perceptual and decision making training will focus on teaching learner cyclists how to analyze traffic situations and react safely to them.

This research project contributes to cycling safety in several ways. First, the insights in the visual behavior of cyclists can lead to more appropriate cycling infrastructure. Second, a hazard perception test can be used to assess the traffic related perceptual and decision making skills of learner cyclists. And finally, a hazard perception training might give learner cyclists a head start in traffic experience without having to cope with the real dangers of traffic and bike handling skills.

For further information : [email protected]

Ghent University

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Department of Movement and Sports Sciences

Motor control and Learning

Watersportlaan 2

9000 Ghent Belgium

tel. 09 264 8683

This research project is supported by the life line campaign of the Research Foundation of Flanders (FWO) FWO G.A115.11N.

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Pieter Vansteenkiste

Ghent, Belgium

Category: Science, Research and Development

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