Mini-Bikes Safety Fact Sheet

Speeed Shriners

We have several obscure items in our collection. One we stumbled across today was the Consumer Product Safety Commision's 1978 Fact Sheet on Mini-Bikes. They cite that at the time of writing, 31,000 people a year require hospital treatment for mini-bike incidents. Their exmaple accident is described:


Safety tipes include:

  • Look for a mini-bike with large wheels. Typically, mini-bikes with small wheels are unstable.
  • The rider should be able to conveniently reach all controls without exerting himself.
  • After buying a bike, don't modify its design.

They also warn riders of impromper use and rider error:


The whole document, with several more tips on how to enjoy mini-bikes without a trip to the hospital, can be found here



Bad Moods and Risky Drivers

Road Rage*

There's a new article from Transportation Research Part F that explores a possible link between driver mood and risky driving. Researchers from Peking University's Department of Psychology tested to see how a good or bad mood could affect driving bevaior. From the paper, "Negative or positive? The effect of emotion and mood on risky driving"

This research explored how two states of affect, emotion and mood, would influence driver’s risky driving behavior through risk perception and risk attitude. An experiment and a survey were adopted to test the two paths. In this model, negative affect played an opposite and more powerful role compared to positive affect. Study 1 was an experimental study with four treatment groups. Participants watched one of four video clips (traffic-related negative, traffic-unrelated negative, positive and neutral) and different emotions were induced. Negative emotion significantly elevated drivers’ risk perception but such perception failed to develop an appropriate attitude for drivers. A more favorable risk attitude resulted in increased reports of speeding. Turning from a “point” effect to a similar “period” effect, a survey was carried out in Study 2 to explore the effect of positive and negative mood instead of emotion. Mood states affected drivers’ risky driving behavior through risk perception as well as risk attitude, which was in line with the results of Study 1. The “bad is stronger than good” effect and the two paths in the model were discussed.

The whole paper can be found here

Pedestrian Deaths Increased in 2010. Why?

Text Distraction

NHTSA recently published pedestrian traffic safety anlysis based upon 2010 data.

The 4,280 pedestrian fatalities in 2010 were an increase of 4 percent from 2009, but
a decrease of 13 percent from 2001. In 2010, pedestrian deaths accounted for 13
percent of all traffic fatalities, and made up 3 percent of all the people injured in
traffic crashes.

Highway fatalities continue to decline, so what accounts for the increase in pedestrian deaths? The Washington Post believes it's from pedestrian distraction, such as text messaging. Is that the only factor in play? Probably not, but pedestrian distraction is something researchers are investigating.

"When Distracted Road Users Cross Paths" examines the relationship between distracted drives and distracted pedestrians. The authors conclude, " Ultimately, a safe roadway environment depends on all road users paying attention to where they are going and being aware of other users who might be sharing the road."

"Distraction and pedestrian safety: How talking on the phone, texting, and listening to music impact crossing the street" from the March 2012 issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention studies how college students are affected by the use of handheld multimedia devices while walking. The researchers conclude that policymakers should consider ways to better protect distracted pedestrians.

More articles about pedestrian distraction can be found on TRID.

Friday Seminar - Robert Campbell on Failure to Yield: A Framework for Evaluation of Compliance Measures

Traffic Circle Trails

This week's Friday TRANSOC Seminar features Robert Campbell, Ph.D. candidate, University of California, Berkeley, presenting "Failure to Yield: A Framework for Evaluation of Compliance Measures."

In this presentation, we explore the safety problem of drivers violating yield signs in a freeway context. Drivers violating traffic controls is a common problem, and agencies have a collection of strategies that they often use to address the problem. These include increasing the size of the traffic control, adding an advanced warning upstream, installing pavement markings, or using LEDs to capture drivers' attention. As common as these (and other) compliance measures are, however, no research has been done to properly evaluate how they compare in terms of effectiveness.

In cooperation with Caltrans, two different compliance strategies—increasing the size of the control, and adding supplemental pavement markings—were implemented on Interstate 10 in Los Angeles so that the effectiveness of each could be measured in the field. Although our experiments involve yield sign violations, the insights obtained can be adapted to other contexts as well, such as pedestrian crosswalks or turn prohibitions at intersections.

We will explore the outcomes of these two experiments and, using a method we have developed to allow for responsible comparisons of effectiveness, will come to conclusions about the performance of each one. Our analysis offers insights into the mechanisms behind the observed behavioral response that occurs in drivers over time after a strategy is implemented (including what happens in the often-ignored "unstable" or "novelty" phase), which we can then use to inform our assessments of each compliance strategy. Our results will reveal flaws with the conventional before-and-after approach used to evaluate compliance measures, and will show how such errors can be avoided or corrected.

 The seminar will be held in 534 Davis Hall from 4:00-5:00 on Friday, April 27. Please join us for a TRANSOC-sponsored Cookie Hour in the ITS Library, 412 McLaughlin, from 3:30-4:00.


Friday Seminar: Anurag Pande presents "Traffic crash patterns: What can we learn from retailers?"


This week's TRANSOC Friday Seminar features Anurag Pande presenting, "Traffic crash patterns: What can we learn from retailers?"

 Data mining applications are becoming increasingly popular for many applications across a set of very divergent fields. Analysis of crash data is no exception. Association analysis or market basket analysis is used by retailers all over the world to determine which items are purchased together by consumers. It is then applied to stock items (e.g., Salsa and Chips) close to each other. In traffic safety research based on association rule mining, crashes are analyzed as supermarket transactions to detect interdependence among crash characteristics. The results from the analysis include simple rules that indicate which crash characteristics are associated with each other. Results will be presented from two of research articles in which this application is demonstrated using crash data from the state of Florida.

The seminar will be at 4:00pm in 534 Davis Hall as usual. Don't miss Cookie Hour in the library at 3:30!


Friday Seminar: Dr. Venky Shankar on Considerations Regarding Design Variations on Safety

4th & Howard

Today's Friday Seminar from TRANSOC features Dr Venky Shanker P.E. presenting "Considerations Regarding Design Variations on Safety."

This talk will present some thoughts on the consideration of design variations in the analysis of network safety, with a focus on strategic guidance on probing the effects of design variations in depth. Strategic guidance will be described through example models estimated empirically using statistical methods. The talk reflects ongoing research activity and integrates insights from the speaker's prior experience in decision-making in design policy matters at state governmental levels.

The seminar will be held at 4:00pm in 534 Davis Hall. Don't forget about Cookie Hour in the library at 3:30! See you here.

Automated Enforcement: Safety or Revenue?


Red light cameras and other forms of automated traffic law enforcement continue to generate controversy. This week, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said that he is in favor of banning such devices and a bill was introduced in the Colorado legislature to ban photo enforcement. On the other hand, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found strong public support for camera enforcement in cities with such programs. Much of the debate in Iowa and elsewhere stems from disagreement over whether such enforcement enhances traffic safety or merely produces revenue in the form of fines. Privacy is also a big concern and some who object on these grounds also see a very disturbing trend towards privatization of law enforcement. US PIRG released a report in October which outlines some of the pitfalls in privatization, including conflicts of interest, political clout of vendors and possible intrusion in setting transportation policy.

The Guardian discusses cycling safety in London

Were Cycle Superhighways designed to encourage 'vehicular cycling'?

This week's Guadian Focus Podcast discusses whether or not Boris Johnson's cycling superhighways have really improved cycling for the London area, in light of yet another cycling death. A study from 2010 questions shows that fatality rates did not drop between 1992-2006. Here's a map of cycling accidents in London between 2000 and 2008. Despite Johnson's proclamation fo 2010 being "London's year of cycling," ultimately cycling success will depend on public safety

US teens driving less?



A recent piece in BBC Magazine asks, "Why are US teenagers driving less"? Economic factors, such as the price of fuel, have made driving less attractive than in the past. Teens are more interested in focusing their resources on gadgets.  In a survey to be published later this year, Gartner research found that 46% of participants aged 18-24 would choose internet access over access to their own car. Anee Lutz Fernandez discusses the need for Detroit to ratchet up marketing to teens as attitudes have shifted. The next question is how will this change in perception translate to safety on the roads? The successor to this survey might have the answer. 

Mapping U.S. road accident casualties.

The fine folks at the Guardian Data Blog release a new map today that combines FARS data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and geospatial data from OpenStreetMap. The results, seen above, are a map of every road accident casualty in the U.S. between 2001 and 2009. They released a similar map of UK casualties last week. 

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