Open Access Article

Title: Enlightening cyclists: an evaluation study of a bicycle light communication system aimed to support older cyclists in traffic interactions

Authors: Frank Westerhuis; Carola Engbers; Rosemary Dubbeldam; Hans Rietman; Dick De Waard

Addresses: Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9712 TS, Groningen, The Netherlands ' Roessingh Research and Development, Roessinghsbleekweg 33b, 7522 AH, Enschede, The Netherlands; Faculty of Engineering Technology, Department of Biomechanical Engineering, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, The Netherlands ' Roessingh Research and Development, Roessinghsbleekweg 33b, 7522 AH, Enschede, The Netherlands; Faculty of Engineering Technology, Department of Biomechanical Engineering, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, The Netherlands ' Roessingh Research and Development, Roessinghsbleekweg 33b, 7522 AH, Enschede, The Netherlands; Faculty of Engineering Technology, Department of Biomechanical Engineering, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE, Enschede, The Netherlands ' Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Groningen, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, 9712 TS, Groningen, The Netherlands

Abstract: In the Netherlands, older cyclists run an increased risk of bicycle crashes. Critical factors are low-speed interactions, stopping, (dis)mounting, and potentially misjudging riding speeds. A Bicycle Light Communication System (BLCS) was therefore developed that displayed riding speed, braking, and turning intentions. In an experiment, 21 older and 20 younger cyclists observed BLCS-signals of a lead cyclist and estimated speeds of an approaching cyclist, with and without BLCS. Interviews were conducted to assess general opinions on BLCS and its influence on cycling behaviour. In a small follow-up study, twelve older cyclists used a BLCS-bicycle one week to explore first user-impressions. The majority evaluated the BLCS positively, mainly the turning indicator and brake light components, even though interpreting the speed signals was difficult. Although the first user-impressions revealed that the direction indicator does not influence self-reported balance (positively or negatively), the majority reported that they would like to use a BLCS themselves.

Keywords: cycling; ageing; safety; intention; interaction; communication; support; interpretation; acceptance; mental workload.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2021.10040965

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2021 Vol.8 No.3, pp.294 - 317

Received: 04 Feb 2021
Accepted: 09 Jun 2021

Published online: 15 Oct 2021 *