Cognitive compatibility of motorcyclists and car drivers

Guy H. Walker, Neville A. Stanton, Paul M. Salmon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    89 Citations (Scopus)


    Incompatibility between different types of road user is a problem that previous research has shown to be resistant to a range of interventions. Cars and motorcycles are particularly prone to this. Insight is provided in this paper by a naturalistic method using concurrent verbal protocols and an automatic, highly reliable semantic network creation tool. The method shows how the same road situation is interpreted differently by car drivers and motorcyclists in ways congruent with wider accident rates. Analysis of the structure and content of the semantic networks reveals a greater degree of cognitive compatibility on faster roads such as motorways, but evidence of more critical incompatibilities on country roads and junctions. Both of these road types are implicated in helping to activate cognitive schema which in turn generate stereotypical behaviors unfavourable to the anticipation of motorcyclists by car drivers. The results are discussed in terms of practical measures such as road signs which warn of events behind as well as in front, cross-mode training and the concept of route driveability. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)878-888
    Number of pages11
    JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • Cognitive compatibility
    • Concurrent verbal protocols
    • Human factors
    • Motorcycle safety
    • Naturalistic experiments
    • Semantic networks


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