The study collected information on volunteers’ travel during one week in March, including their origins and destinations, travel mode and detailed accounts of near-misses and close calls on the road in which they narrowly avoided collisions. Out of 187 people who recorded their trips within the week, about one-third reported 133 near-miss incidents they experienced or witnesses.
Many of these near-miss incidents were attributed to a lack of awareness by other road users (usually, those traveling at faster speeds). Participants illustrate how either as pedestrians or bicyclists, they actively anticipate near-misses in their trips and try to avoid them by wearing brightly colored clothing or closely watching actions of those traveling at faster speeds (usually automobile drivers).
The study also offers insight on how some near-misses lead to subsequent physical intimidation and verbal attacks on pedestrians and bicyclists. Participants in the Kinder Institute study reported being targets of yelling, tailgating, and dangerous overtaking by motorists. When a driver yells at, threatens, or assaults bicyclists and pedestrians, the actions highlight the contradiction between the law – which protects the right of bicyclists and pedestrians to use the road – and the longstanding notion that roads are built exclusively for automobiles.
The near-misses that bicyclists and pedestrians sometimes experience may affect their future travel decisions and prompt them to avoid roads they know are dangerous. That, in turn, could reduce the number of collisions at particular intersections. This analysis is particularly important for those looking to improve street conditions and design for bicyclists and pedestrians. For the full article, click here