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Accid Anal Prev. 2017 Sep;106:420-427. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2017.07.013. Epub 2017 Sep 5.

Do cyclists make better drivers? Associations between cycling experience and change detection in road scenes.

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Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems, University of the Sunshine Coast, Locked Bag 4 (ML47), Maroochydore DC, QLD 4558, Australia. Electronic address:
Research School of Psychology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


Efficient processing of visual information is crucial to safe driving. Previous research has demonstrated that driving experience strongly affects attentional allocation, with large differences between novice and experienced drivers. Expanding on this, we explored the influence of non-driving experiences on attentional allocation by comparing drivers with and without cycling experience. Based on situation awareness field studies, we predicted cyclist-drivers would demonstrate superior performance. Participants were 42 experienced drivers (17 female, 25 male) aged 30-50 years (M=39.8): 20 drivers and 22 cyclist-drivers. The experiment used a change detection flicker task, in which participants must determine whether two alternating images are identical (change-absent) or differ in a single detail (change-present). The changed object was either a road sign, car, pedestrian, or bicycle. Change target significantly affected both accuracy and response time: all participants were slower and less accurate at detecting changes to road signs, compared with when the change was a moving road user (i.e., car, pedestrian, bicycle). Accuracy did not differ significantly between groups, but cyclist-drivers were significantly faster than drivers at identifying changes, with the effect being largest for bicycle and sign changes. The results suggest that cycling experience is associated with more efficient attentional processing for road scenes.


Change blindness; Change detection; Cyclists; Drivers; Situation awareness

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