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Cycling safe and sound - The impact of quiet electric cars, listening to music and conversing on the phone on cyclists’ auditory perception and cycling safety

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 16:30

The impact of quiet electric cars, listening to music and conversing on the phone on cyclists’ auditory perception and cycling safety Cycling safety is a major traffic safety issue both in the Netherlands and abroad. The number of cyclist fatalities in the EU has been decreasing in recent years, however at a slower rate than those of car occupants or pedestrians. In the Netherlands, 20% of road fatalities and 63% of seriously injured crash victims in 2015 were cyclists. One of the factors negatively influencing cycling safety may be related to limitations on avail- ability of auditory cues. Auditory cues, such as tire and engine noises can provide important information about the presence and location of approaching traffic. Cyclists may benefit from auditory cues especially when visual information is less available, for example due to low visibility or obstructed view. Recently two trends have raised concerns about the use of auditory cues by cyclists. One is the growing popularity of electronic devices, mainly mobile phones, which are used by cyclists to listen to music or to have a conversation. The other trend concerns the increasing number of (hybrid) electric cars, which are generally quieter than conventional cars. This thesis addresses the concerns regarding the two trends and focuses on the following research questions: 1. To what extent does listening to music and conversing on the phone impact cyclists’ auditory perception and safety? 2. To what extent do acoustic properties of (hybrid) electric cars pose a safety hazard for cyclists?  The full thesis can be seen at https://www.swov.nl/publicatie/cycling-safe-and-sound