For the first time, 40 to 50 European scientists and policy makers gathered at an international conference devoted to cycling safety. "Terrific" is the response from Divera Twisk, SWOV's coordinator for research into cycling. "Cycling safety was a topic that garnered little attention in the past. While much effort has gone into improving riding safety in the auto industry, there is still much to be done for the cycling world. That is why this conference is extremely important." In her presentation Twisk explored "naturalistic driving", a research method that uses cameras and sensors to follow drivers over long periods. The method also generates insights relevant to cycling safety and the technique can be applied equally well to the bicycle. In this manner the Swedish researcher Marco Dozza was able to follow a group of cyclists for several weeks, revealing noteworthy accidents and near-accidents. For instance, when a cyclist drove into a fence because he was fiddling with his mobile - as later emerged. In Germany, research is in the pipeline on using cameras mounted on electric bicycles.
Carmen Hagemeister of the University of Dresden presented research done on senior cyclists. She interviewed a group of 206 cyclists aged 40 to 90. About half had experienced an accident after their 59th birthday. Two thirds of these misadventures were single-cyclist accidents. The reported causes for these accidents included: bad or slippery road surface, bicycle defects, problems when mounting and dismounting, and the infamous purse or shopping bag on the handlebar.
The first International Cycling Safety Conference was a joint initiative of the Dutch ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, TNO, the Cycling Council, SWOV, and TU Delft. At the conclusion of the conference, a follow-up for next year was promised.