On Your Left

This road’s not big enough for the both of us!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Most car accidents with bicyclists occur because drivers don’t SEE the biker. However, even wearing bright clothes doesn’t make cycling on the road THAT much safer Studies show DRIVER behavior doesn’t change. What’s missing?

Meet Takuro Shoji of ArroWhere Equipment and Gordon Lovegrove of University of British Columbia Okanagan. They proposed making bikers visible in a different way: turn them into moving, human road signs!

Drivers already obey road signs. Why not combine high visibility clothes with familiar symbols to signal drivers what to do? Hey there – move left! Pass me safely!

Four shirt types were tested. Shirts with no arrows, with one dark arrow, with one reflective arrow, or with double arrows. Which shirt passed the safety test? Turns out the shirts WITH arrows helped more than those without! Particularly double arrows!

Drivers drove more slowly and gave more room when passing bikers wearing arrows. Drivers react almost automatically to the symbols’ instructions!

If only our LA drivers would be as helpful and USE THEIR BLINKERS!