Predictors of the frequency and subjective experience of cycling near misses: findings from the first two years of the UK Near Miss Project

Accident Analysis & Prevention
Publication date: 
January 2018

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Using 2014 and 2015 data from the UK Near Miss Project, this paper examines the stability of self-report incident rates for cycling near misses across these two years. It further examines the stability of the individual-level predictors of experiencing a near miss, including what influences the scariness of an incident. The paper uses three questions asked for only in 2015, which allow further exploration of factors shaping near miss rates and impacts of incidents. Firstly, a respondent's level of cycling experience; secondly, whether an incident was perceived as deliberate; and finally, whether the respondent themselves described the incident as a ‘near miss' (as opposed to only a frightening and/or annoying non-injury incident).

Using this data, we find a decline of almost a third in incident rates in 2015 compared to 2014, which we believe is likely to be largely an artefact due to differences in reporting rates. This suggests caution about interpreting small fluctuations in subjectively reported near miss rates. However, in both years near miss rates are many times more frequent than injury collisions. In both years of data collection our findings are very similar in terms of the patterning of incident types, and how frightening different incident categories are, which in- creases confidence in these findings. We find that new cyclists experience very high incident rates compared to other cyclists, and test a conceptual model explaining how perceived deliberateness, near-miss status, and scariness are connected. For example, incidents that are perceived to be deliberate are more likely to be ex- perienced as very frightening, independent of their ‘near miss’ status.