Why uneven roads could be endangering cyclists’ health

54th UK Conference on Human Responses to Vibration to be held at the university

Date posted

4 September 2019

12:22

Research using a hi-tech bicycle which measures exposure to potentially harmful vibrations from uneven road surfaces will be discussed at a conference at the university this month.

Mark Taylor with DataBike

Work at our Transport Research Institute found a large number of people in Scotland who cycle were showing symptoms of a condition called Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS).

 

More commonly thought of as an industrial problem, there are concerns that poorly maintained roads are contributing to cases among cyclists and even bus users.

University experts tested the theory using a specially-designed 'Databike', fitted with an HD camera, sensors and a small computer to record vibration transmitted from road to hands on Edinburgh streets.

It followed a similar system to the Network Rail gauging train which drives along infrastructure, gathering data for analysis.

They found cyclists were at risk of developing the condition after pedalling for as little as 16 minutes on the worst surfaces, such as cobbles.

The findings will be discussed at the 54th UK Conference on Human responses to Vibration, which is being held at the Craiglockhart campus from September 24-26.

The conference will be hosted by Edinburgh Napier University School of Engineering & the Built Environment and Reactec Ltd.

The event is an opportunity for specialists from the UK and further afield to exchange information, disseminate research findings and get updated on current issues related to human exposure to vibration.

Presented papers cover all aspects of hand-transmitted vibration, whole-body vibration and motion sickness.

Cycling Scotland said: “Potholes and uneven surfaces can have an impact on people cycling, in terms of both discomfort and safety, and it will be interesting to see the results from this research.”

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