60% of drivers do not remember having overtaken a cyclist after having done it

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The study is the result of a survey conducted on 1,031 drivers in the neighboring municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcon, who has overtaken a cyclist on a street and who have been asked if they have been aware of it during their journey, and in case affirmative, if they have perceived any type of risk.

The study was carried out during the day from 9 am to 5 pm. The participants, chosen at random in Pozuelo, circulated through an open and real route, through an urban road with two lanes of circulation for the same purpose. On this same route, the cyclists circulated consecutively, appearing at different times, one of them with a jacket of high visibility and the other without it.

The route taken by both bicycles (with and without high visibility jacket) was approximately 400 meters and once this was finished, some 100 meters later, at a traffic light in operation and taking advantage of its different phases in red, the interviews with drivers.

The report also includes the results of an in-depth analysis that has been carried out on 15 drivers between 20 and 57 years old, who have been monitored to see if they have been aware of the presence of cyclists and to analyze their behavior at the wheel, driving style and mistakes made.

When the cyclist uses the reflective vest, the driver will be more aware of his presence and will drive with more caution and safe distance. On the contrary, when the cyclist does not take it, the driver pays less attention to the cyclist and advances it with less care. It is the main conclusion reached by the report "Attention to driving: invisible cyclists for drivers".

MORE VISIBLE, SAFER

Thanks to these data it has been possible to demonstrate that when a cyclist wears a reflective vest, there is a 6% increase in the concentration of drivers and increases the "unconscious effective visualization" of the driver by 39%, which represents an increase of 12 points in front of the cyclist who does not use it, "a surprising and worryingly low value", according to Jess Moncks, director of Prevention and Road Safety of Fundacion MAPFRE, who has made reference to "we have to learn to look and see cyclists who share the road with car drivers."

When respondents are asked if they remember seeing a cyclist with a reflective vest sew on reflective tape, 35% verbally confirm a "conscious display of the cyclist", compared to 65% who deny it. Only 8% verbally acknowledge having perceived some risk in overtaking, compared to 92% who deny it. In this sense, the fact that drivers who interact with bicyclists with a vest are more cautious than those who interact with cyclists who do not use it and apply a greater safety distance with respect to cyclists. On the other hand, his attention is more inclined towards the cyclist and decreases the memory of other external elements of the cyclist.

For the case in which the cyclist does not wear a vest, only 23% of car drivers recognize that they remember the cyclist without a vest and admit that they pay more attention to other elements such as the roundabout or pedestrians. Only 4 out of 100 perceive, consequently, a situation of risk. The report shows that when drivers interact with a cyclist without a vest, they see the danger in the cyclist's poor visibility and the consequences that this may entail, mainly an accident.

ALMOST 80 VICTIMS AND NEAR 700 INJURED CYCLISTS

Cyclists, like pedestrians and motorcyclists, continue to be a vulnerable group when traveling in cities and roads. In 2017, users of bicycles were involved in 8,065 accidents in which 78 cyclists died (4.2% of the 1,830 total deaths that year), 694 were injured hospitalized and 7,035 were injured not hospitalized. The accidents occurred mostly in urban roads (72%). That same year, 4 cyclist children under the age of 15 died. The cyclists complain about the insecurity to which they are exposed and consider that the cars do not moderate the speed when overtaking them, nor respect the lateral safety distance, two very common infractions that trigger numerous injuries.

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