You’re not as visible on a bike at night as you think, new study shows

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 20th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Bike Light Parade

Not as flashy as most
people think.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

People who ride bikes at night consistently overestimate their visibility to other road users, a new study has found.

They also overlook a few tricks, like reflective strips around the ankles and knees, that can help the most.

The report, led by Joanne Wood of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia and published in next month’s issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention, asked both regular and occasional bike riders wearing black clothing, fluorescent or reflective vests, and vests with reflective strips to estimate the point at which an approaching driver would be able to spot them. Different lighting setups were used, too.

People wearing black clothing on their bike at night, or just a reflective vest, were far too optimistic. They thought drivers would see them from nearly twice the distance drivers actually tend to.[Read more…]

PSU researcher delving into “multimodal road rage”

Avatar by on April 18th, 2013 at 11:30 am

Traffic observations- NE Alberta St-8

Could road rage tell us something
about the gender gap in bicycling?
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tara Goddard, a PhD candidate in Urban Studies at Portland State University (PSU), is devoting her thesis to a subject that gets a lot of traction in the media but so far has received scant attention in academia: road rage between people who drive and people who bike.

According to Goddard, her research will focus on the “interactions between drivers and bicyclists,” an aspect of “transportation psychology” research that is largely untapped (most major studies have focused on driver-to-driver rage). Goddard plans to delve into the mechanisms and predictors of driver-rider road rage. “For example, as drivers, we experience (and sometimes perpetrate) law-bending/breaking all the time,” she shared via email. “It is socially acceptable, in many ways. But any scofflaw behavior on the part of a bicyclist suddenly condemns the entire bicycling world.”

Why does that happen? Goddard has a few hunches:[Read more…]

Pilot project will push potential of e-bikes as commute vehicles

Avatar by on April 12th, 2013 at 11:36 am

Image taken from Metro Regional Travel Options grant application.

[Read more…]

Bike commuters are happiest (and other PSU research tidbits)

Avatar by on January 30th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Graph of “commute well-being” from a presentation poster by Oliver Smith.

[Read more…]

As Portland inches along, new research shows separated bike infrastructure is safer

Avatar by on October 22nd, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Ride-along SW Broadway-9-6

Riding on SW Broadway in downtown Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that physcially separated, bicycle-specific infrastructure can lead to much lower risk of injury for people riding bicycles.

Here’s more on the study from Atlantic Cities:

As it turns out, infrastructure really matters. Your chance of injury drops by about 50 percent, relative to that major city street, when riding on a similar road with a bike lane and no parked cars. The same improvement occurs on bike paths and local streets with designated bike routes. And protected bike lanes – with actual barriers separating cyclists from traffic – really make a difference. The risk of injury drops for riders there by 90 percent.

[Read more…]

PSU research makes connection between bike-friendly and bottom line

Avatar by on September 20th, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Researcher Kelly Clifton at a presentation at City Hall today.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland State University researcher Kelly Clifton has shared more detailed data on her research into how mode choice impacts spending behaviors. After talking to Clifton at the outset of her research and then sharing some initial findings back in July, I learned more about her findings at the Bureau of Transportation’s monthly Bicycle Brown Bag discussion series held at City Hall today.

According to data from 1,884 surveys taken outside various establishments, non-driving customers — those who show up by bike, on foot, or via transit — are often more valuable in terms of dollars spent than customers who arrive in a car. This data flies in the face of the often heard perspective that automobile access should be the highest priority to ensure business success.[Read more…]

Researcher considers cargo bikes as tools for social justice

Avatar by on July 25th, 2012 at 10:26 am

Jane Pearce

Cargo bike researcher Jane Pearce.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

If more people of modest means had access to an affordable, dependable cargo bike, could they avoid being sucked into “forced car ownership”? Can cargo bikes play a role in rebuilding a city devastated by a major earthquake? Jane Pearce, a PhD student in the Geography department of Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand visited Portland for two weeks this past June to better understand those questions and to further explore the social justice implications of cargo bikes.

On February 22, 2011, a massive earthquake ripped through Pearce’s hometown of Christchurch. 180 people died and much of the city remains, a macabre reminder of what was lost that day. Pearce came to Portland because of the extensive community that has developed around cargo bikes here; but, as a survivor of the Christchurch quake, she found special significance in the Disaster Relief Trials event. [Read more…]

PSU research delves deeper into ‘Four types of cyclists’

Avatar by on July 18th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Roger Geller’s chart that started it all.

It’s been six-and-a-half years since Portland Bureau of Transportation bicycle coordinator Roger Geller first defined the “Four types of cyclists”. Geller’s insights proved to be groundbreaking and his definitions have stood the test of time. I frequently hear references about the need to attract more “Interested but concerned” riders at conferences all over the country and I read about them in articles in media large and small.

Now a noted bicycle researcher at Portland State University, Jennifer Dill, is working to learn more about the various types of riders. At the recent Velo-City conference in Vancouver B.C., she shared her research, Categorizing Cyclists: What Do We Know? Insights from Portland, OR (PDF). Now her work has been made public.
[Read more…]

Study shows biking customers spend more

Avatar by on July 6th, 2012 at 10:25 am

Survey results suggest that patrons who arrive by automobile do not necessarily convey greater monetary benefits to businesses than bicyclists, transit users, or pedestrians.
— From TR News article

Does your mode of transportation have any relationship to how much you spend at restaurants and bars? That’s the question researchers at Portland State University set out to answer when they embarked on a study last year. I spoke with lead researcher Kelly Clifton at the outset of this project and now she’s had some preliminary data published in the most recent issue of TR News (the magazine of the Transportation Research Board).

The impetus for this research came from the common perception among business owners that auto access equals business and anything that impedes auto parking or auto capacity on roads near their business will hurt their bottom line. We all know how this plays out: A city announces plans for a new bikeway and immediately there is push-back from business organizations and/or business owners. We’ve seen examples of this play out all over Portland, most recently on SW 12th Ave.
[Read more…]

PSU wins $3.5 million DOT grant for transportation research center

Avatar by on January 12th, 2012 at 10:52 am

Portland State University announced today that they’ve been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to continue work at the federally recognized University Transportation Center — the Oregon Transportation Research and Education Consortium (OTREC) — housed on their campus.

They’re also breathing a huge sigh of relief.

[Read more…]