Interaction driver–bicyclist on rural roads: Effects of cross-sections and road geometric elements

The interaction of motorists and bicyclists, particularly during passing maneuvers, is cited as one of the primary causes of bicyclist fatalities. This paper reports the results of a driving simulator study, which sought to analyze the effects that three cross-section configurations of a two-lane rural road and four geometric elements of the road have on driver behavior, during the interaction with a cyclist. A two-lane rural road, about 11 km long, was designed and implemented in an advanced-interactive driving simulator. Three different cross-sections (all with same width, but with and without a bicycle lane and for different widths of bicycle lane) were tested. Forty participants carried out three driving sessions (one for each road alignment with different cross-section) and were exposed to the condition of bicycle traffic along four geometric elements of the alignment (2 tangents with different lengths, right curve and left curve). The driving simulator experiments were designed in such a way that, along the sections where the driver–cyclist interactions occurred, the oncoming traffic was absent. Overall, 468 speed profiles and 468 lateral position profiles were plotted to obtain the descriptive variables of the driver behavior during the interaction with the cyclist. The influences of cross-sections, geometric elements and bicycle traffic conditions on driver behavior were evaluated by a multivariate variance analysis. The presence of the cyclist determined different levels of influence on driver’s trajectory for the three cross-sections. A wider bicycle lane ensured a higher later clearance distance between driver and cyclist, allowing safer overtaking maneuver. The interferences of the cyclist on driver’s behavior depended on the geometric elements. On tangents, the lowest lateral clearances were recorded and no speed reduction was observed, compared to the cyclist absence condition. On the left curve, the higher lateral clearance was recorded, due to the concordant tendencies of the driver to move away from the cyclist and to cut the curve. This determined an excessive and risky displacement of the vehicle to the opposing lane, whose criticality was also emphasized by the high speed adopted by the driver. On the right curve, the lateral clearance was higher than that recorded on the tangents, probably due to the necessity of the driver to perform the demanding maneuver of entering in the right curve, which also determined a speed reduction compared to the cyclist absence condition. The obtained results provide suggestions for the most efficient cross-section reorganization of existing two-lane rural roads in order to improve the road safety.


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  • Accession Number: 01634091
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 17 2017 9:34AM