Drivers tend to slow down more when overtaking cyclists in circumstances where there are “narrower lanes, lower speed limits and the absence of centre-line markings”, researchers from the University of Leeds have found.
The study also found that drivers passed cyclists more slowly if they were driving a long vehicle or in a platoon, and when approaching vehicles in the opposing carriageway were within five seconds of the passing point.
The study set out to “fill gaps” in previous research by looking at cycle lanes on 20mph and 30mph roads, and the impact of different lane widths and lane markings, vehicle type, vehicle platooning and oncoming traffic.
The researchers collected data from a bicycle ridden a distance of one metre from the kerb which was fitted with an ultrasonic distance detector and forward and sideways facing cameras.
Their report concluded that: “Reduced overtaking speeds correlate with narrower lanes, lower speed limits, and the absence of centre-line markings.
“Increased passing distances were found where there were wider or dual lane roads, and in situations where oncoming vehicles were further away and not in a platoon.
“In mixed traffic conditions, cyclists will be better accommodated by wider cross-sections, lower speed limits and the removal of the centre-line marking.”