Bicycling injuries and perceived risk

Schramm, Amy J., Washington, Simon, & Haworth, Narelle L. (2011) Bicycling injuries and perceived risk. In Asia-Pacific Cycle Congress, 18-21 September 2011, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD. (Unpublished)



Government promotion of active transport has renewed interest in cycling safety. Research has shown that bicyclists are up to 20 times more likely to be involved in serious injury crashes than drivers. On-road cycling injuries are under-reported in police data, and many non-serious injuries are not recorded in any official database. This study aims to explore the relationships between rider characteristics and environmental factors that influence per kilometre risk of bicycle-related crash and non-crash injuries.


A survey of 2,532 Queensland adults who had ridden at least once in the past year was conducted from October 2009 to March 2010, with most responses received online (99.3%). Riders were asked where they rode (footpath, bike path, road etc.), average travel speed, purpose of riding, type of bike ridden, how far and how often they rode in. Measures of rider experience, skill, safety perceptions, safety behaviours, crash involvement and demographic characteristics were also collected.


Increasing exposure and having more expensive bicycles were shown to reduce the risk per km of crash and non-crash injury rates, and to reduce perceived risk. Never wearing bright coloured clothing related to increased crash risk, use of fluorescent and reflective clothing had no effect on crash risk. Riding in low-speed environments, never using a front light, and riding in low-speed environments were associated with reduced non-crash injury risk. Perceived risk was influenced by exposure, use of conspicuity aids and helmets, riding for utilitarian reasons, and group-riding behaviours.


Perceived risk does not appear to influence injury rates and injury rates do not appear to influence the perceived risk of cycling. Riders who perceive cycling to be risky tend not to be commuters, do not engage in group riding and always wear helmets. Not all measures of conspicuity were associated with risk, with rear lights found to have no relationship to injury. The risks of experiencing a crash or non-crash injury were similar, therefore injury prevention strategies should expand their scope to include other factors such as the importance of bicycle set-up.

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ID Code: 50439
Item Type: Conference Item (Poster)
Refereed: No
Keywords: Cycling, Cycling injuries, Perceived risk
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 The Authors
Deposited On: 20 May 2012 22:49
Last Modified: 20 May 2012 22:49

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