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

ABSTRACT 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, Aug 15, 2015
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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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    • "In countries such as the Netherlands the use of a mobile phone and other electronic devices while riding a bicycle is quite common (Goldenbeld, Houtenbos, Ehlers, & De Waard, 2012) and, in particular, making phone calls and listening to music while riding are common activities and are performed by 17% of cyclists 1 during almost every trip they make (Goldenbeld et al., 2012). In an observation study in the Dutch city of Groningen almost 3% of the cyclists operated their phone while riding their bicycle (De Waard, Schepers, Ormel, & Brookhuis, 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Although it has been shown that making phone calls or sending text messages while riding a bicycle can have a negative impact on bicyclist’s behaviour, in countries such as the Netherlands the operation of a mobile phone while cycling on a bicycle is not illegal and is actually quite common. In recent years conventional mobile phones with a physical keypad are increasingly being replaced by smartphones with a touch screen. The operation of a touch screen phone ironically cannot be done purely ‘by touch’ due to the lack of tactile feedback, and instead requires fixations on a relatively small screen. The question therefore can be asked whether the operation of touch screen telephones deteriorates cycling behaviour more than operation of a conventional mobile phone.
    Transportation Research Part F Traffic Psychology and Behaviour 01/2014; 22:196–206. DOI:10.1016/j.trf.2013.12.003 · 1.99 Impact Factor
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    • "The crash risk is more accurate as it also takes the exposure (often expressed in terms of distance travelled). The survey study by Goldenbeld et al. (2012) does correct for various exposure factors and it shows that the (self-reported) use of devices while cycling corresponds with the (self-reported) bicycle crashes. The risk of a crash for cyclists who used electronic devices on every trip, turns out to be higher compared with cyclists who never use devices while cycling: for teen cyclists a factor 1.6 higher and young adult cyclists a factor 1.8 higher than their respective age counterparts. "
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    ABSTRACT: The role of auditory perception of traffic sounds has often been stressed, especially for vulnerable road users such as cyclists or (visually impaired) pedestrians. This often in relation to two growing trends feared to negatively affect the use of auditory signals by road users: popularity of electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones, portable music players) and the number of quiet electric cars. Notwithstanding the concerns about impact of both trends on the safety of vulnerable road users, the potential safety implications of limited auditory information available while cycling have not been systematically studied yet. This paper consolidates current knowledge about the use of electronic devices in relation to cycling safety. Based on a proposed conceptual model, the paper provides a qualitative estimation of the extent to which limited availability of auditory information (caused by the use of electronic devices) while cycling constitutes a road safety hazard. Literature analysing official and self-reported crash data and research into the effects of using electronic devices on cycling performance have been used. Results suggest that the concerns about the use of electronic devices while cycling are justified. Listening to music and talking on the phone negatively influence cycling performance and self-reported crash risk. However, it is difficult to prove that these effects are (only) due to the limited availability of auditory information.
    3rd International Conference on Driver Distraction and Inattention, Gothenburg; 09/2013
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