Introduction: Many bicycle–car crashes are caused by the fact that the driver fails to give right of way to the cyclist. Although the car driver is to blame, the cyclist may have been able to prevent the crash by anticipating the safety-critical event and slowing-down. This study aimed to understand how accurate cyclists are in predicting a driver's right-of-way violation, which cues contribute to cyclists' predictions, and which factors contribute to their self-reported slowing-down behavior as a function of the temporal proximity to the conflict. Method: 1030 participants were presented with video clips of nine safety-critical intersection situations, with five different video freezing moments in a between-subjects design. After each video clip, participants completed a questionnaire to indicate what the car driver will do next, which bottom-up and top-down cues they think they used, as well as their intended slowing-down behavior and perceived risk. Results and conclusions: The results showed that participants' predictions of the driver's behavior develop over time, with more accurate predictions (i.e., reporting that the driver will not let the cyclist cross first) at later freezing moments. A regression analysis showed that perceived high speed and acceleration of the car were associated with correctly predicting that the driver will not let the cyclist cross first. Incorrect predictions were associated with believing that the car has a low speed or is decelerating, and with reporting that the cyclist has right of way. Correctly predicting that the driver will not let the cyclist cross first and perceived risk were significant predictors of intending to slow down in safety-critical intersection situations. Practical applications: Our findings add to the existing knowledge on cyclists' hazard anticipation and could be used for the development of training programs as well as for cycling support systems.
Supplementary data for the article: What will the car driver do? A video-based questionnaire study on cyclists’ anticipation during safety-critical situations