Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Florida study confirms drivers give gal cyclists a break

When Brit researcher Ian Walker reported his finding that cars passed helmeted cyclists closer than they did riders without helmets, it was news I didn't want to believe. Now, though, a study at the University of North Florida has confirmed some of Walker's findings:
  • Riders in cycling gear get a smaller passing margin than riders in ordinary clothes.
  • Men get a smaller passing margin than women.
The Florida study of 2,000 passing incidents, paid for by the state Department of Transportation, did not address the helmet question. But it did take into account the relative widths of traffic lanes. That will be significant for pending road improvements. Engineering assistant professor Thobias Sando and his co-author, R. Moses, reported, "lateral spacing between motor vehicles and bicyclists is highly influenced by the width of the outside through lane. ... outside through lane widths less than 13.5 ft could result in a significant decrease in lateral spacing...."

There's a short take on the Florida study at Bike San Diego.  The 97-page report may be downloaded here.

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