BikeCommuters.com

A doctoral student needs our help!

A doctoral student at SUNY Downstate School of Public Health in Brooklyn, New York named Mark Hoglund reached out to us a while back to gauge our interest in an online survey. The survey aims to collect bicycle commuter data — here, let me have Mark explain it better:

A RESEARCH STUDY ABOUT BICYCLING AND SAFETY

DEAR FELLOW BICYCLE RIDERS,

IF YOU ARE 18 OR OLDER, please take part in an anonymous survey for a research study about bicycling practices and bicycling accidents. The survey will take only about 15-20 minutes to fill out.

IT DOES NOT MATTER WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAVE HAD AN ACCIDENT RIDING YOUR BICYCLE. Your answers will help researchers find out how to make bicycling safer. YOU WILL NOT BE ASKED FOR YOUR NAME.

No one will find out how you answered the questions.

TO GO TO THE SURVEY, please use this link: http://survey.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_eXRDaDI9sn3TrrT

THANK YOU! If you have any questions, please feel free to call me. (I won’t ask you to tell me your name.)
Mark W. Hoglund
Doctoral Student
School of Public Health
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
450 Clarkson Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11203

Again, you can access the survey online by clicking here. Please fill it out and share it as much as you can with other bicyclists — the more responses, the better the data! Thanks from all of us here at Bikecommuters.com.

16 Comments

  1. Dan

    I took the survey, and it seemed a little biased towards the opinion that bicycles don’t belong on streets. I hope that we can someday see the article or paper written based on the results.

  2. javier

    agreed.. very restrictiing options for answering the questions. i don’t know what they’re looking for, but driver fault isn’t it!

  3. Raiyn

    I got that impression as well. Also the fact that I’m not out there in a hi-viz vest was apparently a sticking point as well.

    Big guy on a bright yellow bike that looks like a Pink Floyd light show at night? Yeah, I think I’m good. Thank you veddy much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6URaJ_SfWU

  4. JohnnyK

    I took the survey and got the same impressions as the rest of you. I left a comment that the survey seemed to be for those that only ride for exercise and that people that use bikes as a form of transportation ride differently than those that don’t.

  5. Zulu

    Same here, more like an inquisition in blaming the person riding the bike than a true unbiased survey. I also don’t like that this blog promotes helmet use as if it prevents deaths. It’s already been proven that it has very little effect in the prevention of head trauma when colliding with a motor vehicle. Please get the facts straight.

  6. Raiyn

    Get your own facts straight.

  7. Terry Key

    What Do I Need To Do , We Are Here To Support Our Bicycle Family.

  8. Motivated Seller

    I’m with Terry Key. Its not too much trouble to fill out a survey that clearly is interested in bicycle safety. From the 1st page of the survey:

    As far as we know, this is the first time that bicyclists have been asked many of these questions. Therefore, your answers will provide important information, helping to increase public understanding of issues and barriers to the safety of bicycle riders.

    I highly encourage you all to fill it out, and cross-post your comment(s) at the end.

  9. dk12

    There’s some bias in these questions- as if the person conducting the survey doesn’t understand traffic laws – there’s no such thing as a “motor vehicle lane” – that implies restricted access roads. it’s either a shared travel lane or a bike lane. for example, questions should be if bike lane were available, do you ride in one?

  10. Brandi Cahill

    It would be great if you would share your findings when your research is complete. Thanks!

    I left a couple questions blank because I didn’t understand them, or rather, the question didn’t reflect an understanding of the rules of the road. Also, one question asked about the frequency with which you ride with auto traffic, but it didn’t ask about the frequency with which riding in traffic is the only or posted legal option. I think it would be helpful to have that information. For example, riders who are less likely to get in an accident might be correlated with riders who ride with traffic less. Those might also be the riders who have regular access to protected bike lanes, but this survey wouldn’t show that.

  11. Carol

    The survey definitely felt like a massive attempt to blame cyclists. In some instances, it seemed to be assuming that practices (such as riding in the motor vehicle [sic!] lane, not way over to the right) were unsafe, when in fact they are the safest way to ride. There was one about waiting even when you had the right of way that also struck me as assuming that such a practice was your safest option, when in fact it could confuse others and lead them to start up just as you finally decided to go.

    Also, when asking about accidents, there were lots of questions about what the cyclist might have been doing wrong, and none about what any other parties to the accident might have been doing wrong. So for example, in one of my accidents, I probably should have been more alert to hazards, but the city should also not have been leaving a large unmarked hole in the street. But only one of those things got asked about.

    If you had more than one accident, there was no split up of factors among the accidents. For example, in addition to the accident previously mentioned, I had one in which I was rear-ended by a motor vehicle while doing absolutely nothing wrong. Yet because I said I had been insufficiently attentive to hazards (with reference to the other accident), there was no way to indicate that I had one accident that was totally not my fault.

    I have the feeling that the survey is set up in such a way that he will be sure to “discover” that all the cyclists who have accidents deserve them, because they were all doing something wrong.

  12. Zulu

    Carol,

    I had the same experience filling out this survey. It’s very biased and the results will be very predictable. It will basically conclude that if you ride a bike and have an accident it’s your own fault. The questions just laydown the ground work for the blame to be placed on the person riding the bicycle. The researcher claims these questions have never been asked before to bikers, but I disagree. Every time an accident with a bicyclist takes place the police and the media more often than not blame the most vulnerable road user. The same goes for pedestrians. In this country if you want to kill somebody just do it with a car, stay at the scene of the accident and say these words: “officer he/she came out of nowhere, I just didn’t see them!” The cop will take the driver’s statement and send him off with a consolatory pat on the back, he will then turn to the bicyclist and berrate him/her for being on a bicycle. If the bicyclist happens to be dead they’ll tell the media that he or she “blew” a light and wasn’t wearing a helmet and the media will say that the driver was distraught and imply that it was the “bikers” fault. Police repeatedly assign blame without having a shred of evidence and are likely to take the driver’s statement for factual evidence. Unfortunately this is the MO of the police and the media in most US cities when it comes to motorized vehicle collissions with pedestrians and cyclists; just blame the victim. This survey just cements the bias of the windshield perspective, but this is nothing new or innovative as the researcher pretends it to be. What’s new and most troubling is that a site like bikecommuters.com supports a survey that is clear to show a bias result against bicycists. WTF?

  13. Mark Hoglund

    I want to express my thanks to everyone who has taken the time and effort to complete the survey, and I also thank everyone who has shared their thoughts and opinions about it. I understand why some of you may believe the survey is biased against bicyclists or holds bicyclists responsible for accidents, since the survey does not address the behaviors and roles of other road users such as motorists and pedestrians. Please be assured that, as a bicycle commuter for more than 20 years, I know all too well the dangers that others — especially drivers — pose for bicycle riders. This study’s focus on bicyclist practices is a reflection of my belief that bike lanes and other facilities will not, by themselves, make the streets safe for bicyclists and that, therefore, it is worthwhile to discover in a scientific fashion whether there are ways that bicycle riders can protect themselves from harm in traffic.

  14. Ken Sturrock

    I didn’t pick up on the cyclist persecution vibe but it did seem to imply that meekness among riders is key. Moreover, so many answers are context depended – do I pass motor vehicles? Sure, if it’s safe to do so… It’s not like I can just answer “often” or “sometimes” with that mapped to a percentage.

    As a public health guy myself, I thought the aim of the questions were reasonable – many public health cycling initiatives are nothing more than “use a helmet” and completely ignore the rest of the system.

    I admit that I did stop taking the survey when it complained about putting 0.75 as a average “trip time in hours” (what’s that? Round Trip? One Way?) for summer but accepted 0.5 for spring. Minutes would have been a better unit and wouldn’t have alienated those of us who take many quick trips on bicycles vs. ride centuries in the countryside. If you want data, be prepared for it.

  15. Dan

    Agree with most comments here, I filled it in because I hope it will help but it seemed incredibly biased towards finding fault with the cyclist. Not a very impressively constructed survey!

  16. Janice in GA

    I filled out the survey and had the same doubts as many other commenters here. I’ve had one accident (so far, knock wood!) in 11,000 miles of riding the last 3 years. It was caused by an insufficiently secured piece of pipe on a truck. I was crossing an intersection with the light, in broad daylight. When a truck to my right stopped, the pipe came off the top of the truck and knocked my bike down somehow. (I never saw the pipe. One second I was riding forward, the next I was on the ground wondering what the hell happened.) No lights/reflective vests/etc. would have made any difference.

    I will say that was one time I was really happy I had on a helmet, because my head smacked the road pretty sharply. I was lucky. I was ok, and so was my bike, pretty much.

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