Bicyclist Fatalities Involving Heavy Goods Vehicles: Gender Differences in Risk Perception, Behavioral Choices, and Training

  • Published: Traffic Inj Prev. Sep;13(5):493-8, 2012
  • Authors: Frings, D., A. Rose, et al.
  • Date Added: 15 Mar 2014
  • Last Update: 15 Mar 2014
  • Format: doc


Females are typically involved in fewer collisions when pedal cycling than males. However, female cyclists appear to be overrepresented in the number of fatal collisions involving heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). These collisions often involve cyclists passing HGVs on the side furthest from the HGV driver (nearside). It is hypothesized that this pattern of fatalities may be partly due to differences in how males and females perceive the risk associated with various cycling manoeuvres. It is also hypothesized that this difference may be overcome with advanced training.


4,596 UK cyclists completed an online questionnaire in which they reported their level of cycle training and rated the risk they perceived to be associated with various cycling manoeuvres, the likelihood that they would engage in them, and history of collision involvement.

Key Findings:

  • Females perceived a slightly greater level of risk to be associated with cycling. However, males differentiated between the risks involved in nearside and offside overtaking to a greater extent than females.

  • Risk perception was significantly correlated with the reported likelihood that participants would engage in risky manoeuvres such as overtaking on the nearside and also with past collision prevalence.

  • Advanced cycling training was correlated with higher levels of perceived risk associated with overtaking on the nearside; however, basic cycle training was not.

  • Cyclists who do not correctly differentiate between the risks associated with nearside and offside overtaking may be more at risk of being involved in HGV-related collisions.

  • Advanced cycling training is linked to more accurate risk perception.

  • To reduce fatalities, public awareness campaigns should focus on the increased risk of nearside overtaking and encourage cyclists to take advanced training.


Cyclist, HGV, risk perception