Near accidents and collisions between pedestrians and cyclists : present situation and related safety issues constraining walking and cycling in Finland

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202102101470
Title: Near accidents and collisions between pedestrians and cyclists : present situation and related safety issues constraining walking and cycling in Finland
Author: Mesimäki, Johannes
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2021
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-202102101470
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/326272
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Kaupunkitutkimuksen ja suunnittelun maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Urban Studies and Planning
Magisterprogrammet i urbana studier och planering
Specialisation: USP Plans
USP Plans
USP Plans
Discipline: none
Abstract: Collisions and near accidents between pedestrians and cyclists can result in serious injuries and death but have received limited academic attention. Using an online survey, this thesis aimed to increase knowledge of such events, assess the sense of safety of pedestrians and cyclists in traffic as well as identify safety-related constraints to the uptake of walking and cycling with practice theory. Practice theory considers human behaviour to be guided via participation in established social practices constituted by interconnected elements of meaning, material and competence. As such, this thesis contributes to debates concerning barriers to walking and cycling from a safety perspective. The survey was directed to Finnish cities with over 100,000 population and asked frequent pedestrians and cyclists to report details of collisions and near accidents between pedestrians and cyclists that they had experienced in the previous three years. Additionally, the survey asked questions concerning respondents’ sense of safety in traffic when walking or cycling. Survey data was analysed with chi-square tests of independence and ordinal logistic regression. Constraints to the uptake of cycling and walking and ways to overcome them were identified with a practice theory analysis. This involved examining the implications of survey results for the elements constituting the practices, their interrelations and how the practices influenced each other. According to the results, near accidents are roughly 50 times more frequent than collisions. Only 16 respondents had experienced a collision, whereas roughly a third had experienced at least one near accident. Additionally, shared paths were associated with more collisions and near accidents compared to separated spaces, and respondents felt less safe and less willing to travel on them compared to separated paths. The most common type of collision and near accident involved both road users travelling in the same direction. Constraints to cycling and walking were found to surface from meanings of danger associated particularly with shared infrastructure, a material element of the practices. These issues are evidenced by a high near accident frequency, low sense of safety and low willingness to travel on shared spaces. In addition, these issues were exacerbated by a lack of competences concerning space sharing, resulting in poor rapport and respect between pedestrians and cyclists. Significant effects regarding sense of safety were detected between pedestrians and cyclists and across age and genders with ordinal logistic regression, suggesting variance in how different groups experience meanings of danger. Intervening in the material element of the practices by preferring the provision of spatially separated infrastructure was considered to have potential to help overcome these constraints due to their associated safety benefits and respondents’ more favourable position toward them. In addition, working to develop a shared code of conduct for travel on shared environments could further mitigate constraints. Overcoming these constraints could assist the promotion of active travel and help improve the sustainability of transport while improving traffic safety and increasing physical activity.
Subject: Walking
cycling
traffic safety
sustainability transition
ordinal logistic regression
ordered logistic regression


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