News article

Peer distraction: an experiment to assess impact on adolescent and adult cyclists’ hazard perception

SWOV researcher Vlakveld coauthored the article 'Peer distraction: an experiment to assess impact on adolescent and adult cyclists’ hazard perception' in the magazine 'Journal of Transportation Safety & Security'.

To contribute to the understanding of the vulnerability of young adolescent cyclists, ages 12–14 years, this experiment compared adolescent and adult cyclists on the effects of distraction on hazard perception skills (HP) to test the hypotheses that (a) young adolescent cyclists would perform worse in HP than adults (H1), (b) HP would deteriorate when distracted in both age groups (H2), and (c) this detrimental effect would be greater for adolescents than for adults (H3).

In this counterbalanced experiment, with age as a between factor and distraction as a within-subject factor, HP was measured as the performance on a task consisting of traffic videos clips from a cyclist’s perspective. The distraction task consisted of a peer delivered captivating distraction task: a ‘guessing game.’ The results showed that age differences were only apparent in hazard decisions, and not in visual search and hazard localisation. Adults assessed more frequently a situation as being hazardous than adolescents did (H1). In both age groups hazard localisation and decisions were both negatively affected by distraction (H2), whereas visual search was not. In contrast to expectations, the detrimental effect of distraction was not greater in adolescents than in adults (H3).

Read the article »