Auditory alerts and safety with simulated bicycles and motor vehicles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Bicycling has become an increasingly popular and environmentally friendly active transportation modality for many commuters across the nation. Consequently, as ridership increases so does the rate of bicycle–motor vehicle crashes, many of which are caused by reduced bicycle visibility and driver inattention. Therefore, one effective solution to improve bicyclist safety may be through the use of an audible bicycle alarm system to alert both the driver and the rider. A study was conducted to determine whether a unique auditory alert would be effective at reducing crash rates and whether a localized alert (i.e., an alert presented from the driver’s perspective) would improve the driver’s responsiveness in avoiding a potential collision. A driving simulator study tested car horn sounds, an experimental bike alert, and no auditory alert in different potential collision scenarios to measure collision rates and other collision avoidance metrics. Findings indicated that the experimental bike alert contributed to fewer relative crashes than the horn sound and no sound on bicycles, motor vehicles were struck more frequently than bicycles, collisions were more likely to occur from the front than the sides, and collisions were more likely for drivers going straight than when making turns. Taken together, the findings suggest that an alarm designed to be specifically compatible with bicycles is more effective than auditory alerts from other sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Record
PublisherSage Publications Ltd
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameTransportation Research Record
ISSN (Print)0361-1981
ISSN (Electronic)2169-4052

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The research reported here was partly supported by a research grant from the US National Science Foundation (NSF Grant PFI-16114).

Publisher Copyright:
© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2020.


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