Analysing & managing the cyclist-driver interface using “conflict path analysis”
Conflict path analysis considers the microgeography of cyclist travel paths and how travel path choice may affect the level of mutual awareness between road users. Travel paths of bicycles and motor-cycles are both: less visible because vehicles are smaller; and less predictable to drivers because narrow vehicles take a range of positions within lanes and sometimes “share” lanes, so may not be where drivers look. Where awareness of cyclists by drivers required to yield to them is impossible or improbable, crash risks are high. For four road conflict scenarios which particularly affect cyclists, precise travel paths are analysed, considering how they may affect potential driver awareness and countermeasures are proposed to improve likely driver awareness of cyclists. Left turn side-swipes can be reduced by encouraging left turning vehicles to do so from the left edge of the road; Car “dooring” may be reduced with painted safety buffers between parking and bicycle lanes. “Keep Clear” area crashes may be reduced by extending the clear area upstream to remove sightline obstructions. Roundabout strategies to encourage central lane positioning by cyclists include centrally painted bicycle symbols. “Conflict path analysis” is a new analysis system which can usefully assist designers to create safer roads.