Cyclists are of a more attentive when at the wheel car, according to a new study conducted by two Australian universities.
The study published in the journal of Accident Analysis & Prevention sought to look at the efficiency of processing visual information by drivers, a key component for safe driving.
The researchers said that based on existing situation awareness field test studies, they expected the cyclist-drivers group to perform better.
Participants were split into three groups. The largest comprised 42 experienced motorists aged 30-50, of whom 17 were women and 25 men. There were also 22 drivers and 20 driver-cyclists.
Using a change detection flicker task, the subjects were shown two alternating images and needed to determine whether they were identical or differed in a single detail. The changed aspect was either a road sign, car, pedestrian or bicycle.
Cyclist-drivers were significantly faster than drivers at identifying changes, with the effect being largest for bicycle and sign changes.
The researchers concluded, “The results suggest that cycling experience is associated with more efficient attentional processing for road scenes.”