Do you use a bike? Do you fancy being a small cog in furthering understanding of what it’s like to ride a bike where you are? Sign up with the Near Miss Project to complete a one day diary over the next two weeks and you’ll be providing local data for a national research project.
Using the ‘near miss‘ to analyse and improve safety within a system posing a risk to life began in the american aviation industry during the 70s. Air traffic accidents are rare but usually catastrophic when they occur. By fostering a culture where people can report the more common near misses it’s possible to look at the likely causes of catastrophic events before they actually happen.
As far as I’m aware this, now common, approach to health and safety has never been applied in a road transport setting before. Where it is used it tends to rely on a ‘no blame’ culture to work effectively, which might be an interesting starting point for a discussion on road safety and the hands-off approach of the authorities involved in designing, managing and regulating it.
This is the second year the project has run and one of the main findings from last year is:
“Cycling speed is the main factor affecting near miss rates: those who reach their destination at an average speed of under 8 mph have around three times more near misses per mile compared to those who get there at 12 mph or faster.”
Avoiding the temptation to speculate why that might be the case, it explains why a ‘fast roadie’ and a ‘slow shopper’ often have polar opposite views when it comes to safer cycling – their real world experience and their perceptions of it are significantly different.
Expect to see more insights from the data this year. You don’t have to have a near miss to take part (in fact a long term trend of reduction in the near miss rate ought to be an expected outcome of the DfT’s efforts on improving road safety) but your input is just as valuable.