Commuter Bicyclist Behavior and Facility Disruption


Francis Harvey, Kevin Krizek

May 2007

Report no. MnDOT 2007-15



Cyclists confronted by disruptions to facilities (e.g., dedicated paths, designated lanes) experience disturbances that prompt them to select sub-optimal facilities to avoid disruptions. Cyclists who have ready access to such improved facilities often choose sub-optimal facilities. This project collected a variety of data to help gain a better understanding of commuter cyclist behavior using Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to record cyclist movements and behaviors. Using GPS units for data collection provides significant data for analysis; however, a substantial and unexpected amount of effort went into determining the best operational use of the GPS units and verifying data collection protocols. Among important findings, results show that as perceived safety decreases, riders appear to be more cautious and move more slowly; however in situations of substantial perceived danger, riders go faster to spend as short a time in unsafe conditions. Cyclists choose these dangerous situations over alternatives because of lessened travel times. The research has been successful in establishing insightful relationships between commuter cyclist behavior and facilities. The methodological results are significant for future work.

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