UBC Okanagan research suggests cyclists are safer wearing high-vis vests with arrows

Associate professor suggests communications aids such as arrows are as important as visibility aids

UBC Okanagan research has found that high-visibility vests with arrows may curb traffic accidents and cyclist fatalities.

Gordon Lovegrove, a UBC Okanagan associate professor in the School of Engineering, and industry collaborator Takuro Shoji, conducted road tests with cyclists in Kelowna between 2016 and 2017.

According to Lovegrove, the tests were done to determine the role communication plays in the safety of vulnerable road users.

For the initial road test, a total of 25 participants either wore the high-vis clothing they usually wear or a proprietary visibility vest called ArroWhere with an arrow design directing traffic away from pedestrians and cyclists.

The participants rode bikes equipped with inertial sensors, proximity sensors, and video recorders, all of which monitored rider position in relation to passing traffic separation and distance.

Before and after the rides, they also filled out surveys about their perceived safety and comfort.

“We were curious to find out if communication aids like signage could possibly be more important than visibility aids like reflectors,” Lovegrove said.

According to the study, the results of the initial road test suggested that riders felt safer wearing ArroWhere and that passing cars drove by in a safer manner.

The researchers then conducted an online survey with 103 participants and another in-field test, where a total of 85 participants rode a two-kilometer stretch of urban collector in a bike lane, wearing ArroWhere designs.

The overall results, which were published this month in the journal Sustainability, indicated that traffic provided wider berths when the riders were wearing reflective apparel with an arrow symbol.

READ MORE: BrainTrust launches annual helmet program in Kelowna

“It’s funny that sometimes small visual cues for drivers can have a big impact,” Lovegrove said. “Drivers have the narrowest margin of error in traffic environments due to the masses they control and the speeds at which they travel.”

Visibility is key to reducing vehicle-cyclist collisions, Lovegrove said, however, “evidence suggests that current conspicuity aids cannot provide sustainable safety in their current form, and a more optimal design is needed.”

“Until improved infrastructure networks are fully funded and completed, we hypothesize that communication aids are equally, if not more important, than visibility aids for (vulnerable road user) safety.”

READ MORE: Bike to Work and School week rolls out in Kelowna


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Three people taken to hospital after a fire at Rutland home

The fire which was located on the second floor of the townhouse complex is now out

Multiple crashes, including a bus, plague Highway 97

Thursday’s evening commute in Kelowna slowed by collisions

Health minister announces new urgent care centre in Kelowna

Adrian Dix made the annoucment Thursday at the Capri Centre

Provincial Mobile Medical Unit makes an appearance in Kelowna

The high tech hospital on wheels provides medical care for rural communities and during emergencies

Special Olympics fundraiser comes to downtown Kelowna

motionball Marathon of Sport kicks-off in City Park Saturday

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Fire at Kelowna home sends three to hospital

The fire which was located on the second floor of the townhouse complex is now out

Reports of chaos in Penticton, involving police cruiser and possible shots fired

Residents also reported hearing shots fired at the same time as the crash

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

South Okanagan driver held at gunpoint, car-jacked near Penticton

Penticton RCMP are asking for the public to keep an eye out for the suspect, stolen vehicle

Most Read