The role of conspicuity in preventing bicycle crashes involving a motor vehicle.
Tin Tin S., Woodward A., Ameratunga S.
BACKGROUND: Bicycle use, despite its proven health and other benefits, is rarely part of everyday travel for many people due to the perceived risk of injury from collision crashes. This article investigated the role of physical vs. attention conspicuity in preventing bicycle crashes involving a motor vehicle in New Zealand. METHODS: The Taupo Bicycle Study involved 2590 adult cyclists recruited in 2006 (43.1% response rate) and followed for bicycle crash outcomes through linkage to four national databases. A composite measure of physical conspicuity was created using latent class analysis based on the use of fluorescent colours, lights and reflective materials, and the main colour of top, helmet and bike frame. Attention conspicuity was assessed based on regional differences in travel patterns and the amount of riding in a bunch. Cox regression modelling for repeated events was performed with multivariate adjustments. RESULTS: During a median follow-up period of 6.4 years, 162 participants experienced 187 bicycle-motor vehicle crashes. The crash risk was not predicted by the four latent classes identified and the amount of bunch riding but was higher in Auckland, the region with the lowest level of bicycle use relative to car use. In subgroup analyses, compared to other latent classes, the most physically conspicuous group had a higher risk in Auckland but a lower risk in other regions. CONCLUSION: Conspicuity aids may not be effective in preventing bicycle-motor vehicle crashes in New Zealand, particularly in Auckland, where attention conspicuity is low.