Behaviour and Crash Involvement Risk of Child Pedestrians and Bicyclists: A traffic exposure study

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #17 - 1991

Authors: A. Drummond, J. Ozanne-Smith

Full report in .pdf format [4.4MB]

Abstract:

This study of child pedestrians and bicyclists has focussed on traffic behaviours,

exposure on roads (and on footpaths in the case of bicyclists) and the nature and extent of the injury problem for these groups. The risk of crash involvement was estimated for both pedestrians and bicyclists by combining exposure data from this study with comparable police reported accident data. Extensive results are reported in each area, viz. behaviour, exposure and risk of crash involvement. The report concludes by making a number of recommendations on research related issues.

Executive Summary

This study of child pedestrians and bicyclists has focussed on traffic behaviours, exposure on roads (and on footpaths in the case of bicyclists) and the nature and extent of the injury problem for these groups. Exposure data from this study have been combined with comparable Police reported accident data to estimate the risk of crash involvement for both pedestrians and cyclists. Exposure data were collected through an observational survey conducted at 80 randomly selected observation zones across metropolitan Melbourne. Data were collected on both the quantity (time) and quality (various behaviours) of child pedestrian and bicyclist exposure.

Major results from the study are summarised below:

  • the presence of child pedestrians on roads increases with increasing age, with primary and secondary school aged children having approximately 10 times the exposure of children under 5 years of age.
  • two-thirds of total child pedestrian exposure is on local streets. Local streets may not be as 'pedestrian-friendly' as might be expected, as around 50% of road entries were made in the presence of potentially conflicting vehicles and all age groups display greater frequencies of less safe crossing behaviours, relative to their behaviour on arterial roads.
  • The following overall behavioural frequencies in each road class were observed;
 

ARTERIAL ROADS

LOCAL STREETS

Did not stop

13%

57%

Did not look

24%

36%

Did not monitor traffic

66%

72%

Crossed indirectly

6%

21%

  • the risk of crash involvement for child pedestrians under 5 years of age is three times higher than for the two older age groups which have risks comparable to each other.
  • overall, the risk for child pedestrians on arterial roads is more than three times higher than on local streets.
  • while the 5- 11 years and 12-17 years age groups display higher crash involvement risks on arterial roads by a factor of 3 and 4.8 respectively, the under 5 age group demonstrates a 50% higher risk on local streets.
  • 70% of all bicyclists observed over the age of 5 years (and including adults) were not wearing bicycle helmets. Wearing rates within each age group were; 5-11 years, 56.4%, 12-17 years, 18.8%, 18 years or older, 34.1%. These rates had all increased substantially since the previous survey and were the last data collected prior to the introduction of mandatory bicycle helmet wearing.

This report concludes by making a number of recommendations on research related issues.

Sponsor: VicRoads