The safety of bicycles being overtaken by cars : what do we know and what do we need to know?

Haworth, Narelle & Schramm, Amy (2014) The safety of bicycles being overtaken by cars : what do we know and what do we need to know? In Proceedings of the 2014 Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing & Education Conference, Grand Hyatt, Melbourne, VIC.

View at publisher (open access)


Many cyclist deaths and serious injuries result from rear-end or sideswipe collisions involving a car or heavy vehicle. As a consequence, minimum passing distance laws (often referred to as ‘one metre rules’) have been introduced in a number of U.S. states along with European countries such as France, Belgium and Spain. A two-year trial of a minimum passing distance rule is underway in Queensland. The international studies show that while the average passing distance is more than one metre, significant proportions of passes occur at less than this distance. Average passing distances are greater with wider lanes, when bicycle lanes are present, for cars rather than vans or trucks, and (possibly) at higher speed limits. Perceived characteristics of the cyclist (other than gender) appear to have little effect on passing distances. The research questions the ability to judge lateral distance and whether nominated distances predict on-road behaviour. Cyclists have strong concerns about drivers passing too close but the extent to which this behaviour reflects deliberate intimidation versus an inability to judge what is a safe passing distance is not clear. There has been no systematic evaluation of the road safety benefits of minimum passing distance laws. These laws have received little police enforcement but it is unclear whether enforcement is necessary for them to be effective.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

187 since deposited on 17 Feb 2015
42 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 81847
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: bicycles, overtaking, proximity, traffic behaviour, road safety
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 2014 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 17 Feb 2015 22:49
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2015 05:57

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page