Skip to main navigation Skip to main content
The University of Southampton

University recruiting drivers and cyclists for cycling safety research

Published: 24 January 2020

Researchers from the University of Southampton are looking for drivers and cyclists in the local area to help them with a study aimed at reducing the number of accidents on the road.

The University’s Transport Research Group are working with Cycling UK to develop new training programs to help road users understand risky behaviours and improve their awareness of other road users. As part of the research they want cyclists, drivers and people who use both bicycles and cars on the roads to take part in some focus groups where they will discuss their views on a series of questions and scenarios.

Cyclists are disproportionately represented in accident statistics. In 2016 over 18,000 cyclists were injured in road accidents in the UK, 3499 of whom were killed or seriously injured. On average in Southampton 124 cyclists are involved in collisions on the city’s roads each year, making up 16% of all accidents despite representing only 1.4% of daily traffic.

The Cross-modal Intervention To Improve Cycling Awareness Levels (CRITICAL) project is funded by the Road Safety Trust. The University researchers and Cycling UK will use the feedback from the focus groups to develop two training programs, one for cyclists and one for drivers, which will each consist of theoretical sessions and practical elements on the road or in a simulator.

The focus groups will be the second part of the research involving members of the public. Earlier in the project, volunteer drivers and cyclists took part in on road studies where they recorded their journeys with Go Pro cameras and explained their interactions with other road users as they went.

Dr Katie Plant, Lecturer in Human Factors in Engineering at the University of Southampton, who is leading the study said “For most of us, training in road safety is limited to taking our cycling proficiency test at school and passing our driving test. This makes it very easy for our knowledge of traffic laws and the Highway Code to diminish over time.

“A high proportion of road accidents involve cyclists and drivers, two groups who are traditionally in conflict with each other. It is really important therefore that we get both groups involved to find out where the gaps in awareness lie.”

The focus groups will be co-ordinated by Matthew Webster, a Senior Research Assistant at the University who is also an elite level cyclist. He added: “By taking part in the group discussions, the Southampton community can help us develop a major programme for cyclist and driver safety. As well as reducing accidents, we can hopefully create an environment where more people feel confident about making their journeys by bike and can enjoy the health benefits of cycling.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the study can contact Matthew on

Privacy Settings