Making bike safety research count
For research to positively impact road users’ safety, findings must be effectively communicated and used to advocate policy implementation or change. Institutions concerned with road safety need to collect, review and facilitate research in a rigorous, systematic way. The alternative, relying on ad hoc discovery of research, runs the risk of promulgating untested, unworkable, counterproductive or ineffective policy. The Amy Gillett Foundation (AGF) has developed a systematic policy development approach that identifies issues that have a bearing on its mission: safe cycling in Australia, and its vision: zero bike-related fatalities. Policy developed at the AGF is underpinned by the theoretical models of Haddon’s matrix, the Safe System Framework and the Public Health Approach to identify policy issues and provide structure for policy development and prioritising. Relevant research is parsed to identify possible positions on an issue; draft policy is then enunciated, refined by the AGF Research and Policy Advisory Committee and then communicated to advocates as relevant for support or change regarding existing policy. This paper identifies examples of this process in action regarding two policy issues: safe overtaking distances and cyclist-open vehicle door crashes.