An Investigation of Behaviour and Attitudes Relevant to the User Safety of Pedestrian/Cyclist Shared Paths

Bicycle/pedestrian shared paths are an increasingly popular solution to providing cycling infrastructure, despite evidence suggesting safety issues. Improved design and management of shared paths should be informed by understanding of bicyclist and pedestrian behavior on shared paths, and of relevant safety initiatives (e.g. centerline marking). However, relevant research is lacking. Bicyclist/pedestrian passing events (n = 407) were observed on three relatively busy shared paths in Sydney, Australia – one of them without centerline marking. User characteristics, relevant behaviors and incidents (aggression, near-misses, crashes) were recorded. A tendency toward left-hand travel, as on Australian roads, was stronger for cyclists than for pedestrians, and where centerline was present. Cyclists were often estimated to travel above 10 km/h, a speed limit that has been suggested based on pedestrian safety considerations, but that would be unacceptable for long stretches of commuter cycling. Centerline was associated with lower estimated speeds. Cyclists typically adhered to their responsibility of giving way to pedestrians, but often passed on the left, passed too close, passed without slowing, or passed without warning (e.g. with a bell). Use of mobile telephones and mp3 players is common, particularly amongst pedestrians. Five near collisions were observed, and 53 survey participants reported 2 collisions and 13 near misses. Contributing factors appear to include path users using potentially distracting devices, or straying from the rules of thumb to keep to the left, and to overtake on the right. A survey of cyclists and pedestrians suggested that there are issues with perceptions of space ownership. These results represent an important contribution to the evidence-base for initiatives to improve the safety of shared paths.


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01601868
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2016 4:29PM