Characteristics of bicycle crashes in an adolescent population in Flanders (Belgium)

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INTRODUCTION: In regions where transportation is mainly motorized, air pollution and traffic congestion are rife. Active transportation such as cycling might be a solution but safety is a major concern. An efficient science based safety policy is needed. The aim of this paper is to analyze in depth the bicycle crash causes and characteristics in an adolescent population (14-18 yr).

METHODS: By using questionnaires for self-reported bicycle crashes, bicycle crash data were collected from insurance companies (January 2014-June 2015) and from schools (November 2013-March 2014). Six bicycle crash causes were predefined and possible differences between schools and insurance companies were analyzed.

RESULTS: Eighty-six school and 78 insurance registered crashes were analyzed. "Distraction of the cyclist" and "third party crossing a bicycle path failing to see the cyclist" are the main causes of bicycle crashes (both 29%). Bad (maintained) infrastructure accounted for 21% of the crash causes. Bicycle crashes reported at insurance companies needed significantly more medical attention and led to high absenteeism (57% at least one day of absenteeism). Only 21% of the bicycle crashes reported at insurance companies were also reported in the official police database.

CONCLUSION: The human factor was the main cause accounting for 79% of the crashes. Bicycle crashes involving a car accounted for 42% and single bicycle crashes accounted for 31% of the total number of crashes. From the bicycle crashes registered at insurance companies 21% was also registered in official police statistics. A combination of information, education and changing the bicycle specific environment might reduce the consequences of human errors more efficiently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Number of pages8
JournalAccident Analysis & Prevention
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2016


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