The use and risk of portable electronic devices while cycling among different age groups

SWOV, Netherlands.
Journal of safety research (Impact Factor: 1.34). 02/2012; 43(1):1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsr.2011.08.007
Source: PubMed


In the Netherlands, a survey was set up to monitor the extent of the use of portable, electronic devices while cycling amongst different age groups of cyclists and to estimate the possible consequences for safety.
The main research questions concerned age differences in the self-reported use of electronic devices while cycling, self-reported crash involvement and risk, and self-reported compensatory behaviour. Teen cyclists (12-17 years) and young adult cyclists (18-34 years) were more frequent users, and also more indiscriminate users of portable devices while cycling than middle-aged and older adult cyclists (35-49 years; 50+ years).
After statistical correction for influences on crash risk of urbanization level, weekly time spent cycling, and cycling in more demanding traffic situations, the odds of being involved in a bicycle crash were estimated to be higher for teen cyclists and young adult cyclists who used electronic devices on every trip compared to same age groups cyclists who never used these devices. For middle-aged and older adult cyclists, the use of portable electronic devices was not a significant predictor of bicycle crashes, but frequency of cycling in demanding traffic situations was. Possible implications for education or legal measures are discussed.
Results may inform researchers, policy makers, and cyclists themselves. Educational campaigns may use risk information to warn young cyclists about risk of device use while cycling.

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Available from: Charles Goldenbeld,
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    • "To examine the association between hearing abilities and localisation accuracy, Pure-Tone Average (PTA, a calculation routinely used to determine hearing impairment; see e.g. Gelfand, 2009) hearing levels across both ears for each participant were obtained by averaging the pure tone thresholds of 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 kHz. Hearing loss, defined as a PTA >30 dB HL, was present in eleven participants. "
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    DESCRIPTION: Available online: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
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    • "Older and teenage cyclists are also of interest from the perspective of the auditory perception of traffic sounds. Young cyclists, compared to other age groups, are more often engaged in activities that can reduce auditory cues from traffic, such as listening to music or talking on the phone (Goldenbeld et al., 2012). The elderly seldom use electronic portable devices whilst cycling. "
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    ABSTRACT: When driven at low speeds, cars operating in electric mode have been found to be quieter than conventional cars. As a result, the auditory cues which pedestrians and cyclists use to assess the presence, proximity and location oncoming traffic may be reduced, posing a safety hazard. This laboratory study examined auditory localisation of conventional and electric cars including vehicle motion paths relevant for cycling activity. Participants (N = 65) in three age groups (16–18, 30–40 and 65–70 year old) indicated the location and movement direction (approaching versus receding) of cars driven at 15, 30 and 50 km/h in two ambient sound conditions (low and moderate). Results show that low speeds, higher ambient sound level and older age were associated with worse performance on the location and motion direction tasks. In addition, participants were less accurate at determining the location of electric and conventional car sounds emanating from directly behind the participant. Implications for cycling safety and proposals for adding extra artificial noise or warning sounds to quiet (electric) cars are discussed.
    Transportation Research Part F Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 10/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.trf.2015.09.004 · 1.99 Impact Factor
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    • "Studies indicate that, for teenagers and adults, using mobile IT while cycling increases accident risk [1]. The increased risk corresponds to a risk factor of 1.4 which is comparable to having a blood alcohol level of 0.05% while driving. "
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    ABSTRACT: The increasing use of mobile phones while cycling has raised safety concerns. In this paper two studies of mobile phone use by cyclists are presented. The first study was designed to charac-terize mobile phone use by cyclists in Sweden, while the second studied how mobile phone use affected cyclist behaviour and compensation strategies. Mobile phone use was observed in about 20 percent of all urban bicycle trips. The usage varied with cyclist age with the highest usage among young cyclists. Of those using phones, 90% of the cyclists observed used head-phones. In parallel, standardized, interviews 15% of cyclists under 15 years old stated that they always used mobile phones while cycling. Listening to music in headphones was the most fre-quent self-reported activity. To converse using hand-held phones was also rather common, and was the only mobile phone usage reported by women above 50 years old. In the second study twenty-two young cyclists (age 16-25 years) completed a route in real traffic five times while listening to music, receiving and making calls, receiving and sending text messages, searching for information on the internet and while cycling normally without using the phone. The route and the types of tasks were controlled, but the cyclists could choose rather freely when, where and how to carry out the tasks. When the cyclist returned to the starting point, a short interview was conducted. During the interviews cyclists reported their experiences and the compensation strategies they used while cycling. The results indicate differences between tasks performed and experience of using mobile phone while cycling. The more difficult the task was perceived to be, the more often cyclists compensated by reducing their speed or us-ing multiple strategies. Less experienced cyclists found the tasks more difficult and they com-pensated primarily by reducing speed, while more experienced cyclists compensated behav-iourally by changing their visual scanning. .
    International Cycling Safety Conference 2014, Gothenburg, Sweden; 11/2014
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