A study of cyclists' hand-arm vibration exposure

Mark Taylor, Jack Bayram, Christopher William Oliver

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Cycling infrastructure and, in particular, a well maintained pavement surface contributes to a safe and comfortable ride. However, defective pavement surfaces and insufficient maintenance can expose cyclists to excessive hand-arm vibration. Regular exposure to vibration transmitted from work processes is well documented, regulated and controlled in construction and civil engineering industries. Limited data is available regarding commuter and recreational cyclists’ exposure to hand-arm vibration. The equipment required to measure and monitor hand-arm vibration is often costly. However, advances in low-cost electronics engineering has provided a range of vibration sensors and recording media. Instrumented probe bicycles can be constructed with low cost apparatus to allow a broad range of data to be collected. For example, recording vibration, geospatial positioning, lighting lux levels and HD video. Applying the procedures adopted for railway and road maintenance to cycle path maintenance is not common practice in Scotland. Measuring cyclist’s vibration exposure and examining the health implications of such exposure may provide a medical rationale for improvements to pavement surfaces.

A survey of Scottish cyclists vibration exposure symptoms was conducted (n=508). The online questionnaire survey instrument was designed to screen participants for hand-arm vibration symptoms. The results show that a considerable amount of Scottish cyclists who commute or undertake recreational cycling are experiencing symptoms. The results of the questionnaire survey are presented. Furthermore, design and analysis methods for a low-cost hand-arm vibration measurement system are provided. Measurements comply with EN ISO 5339-1:2001 with a sample rate of 5 kHz and the application of frequency weighting filters (Wh). Partial and total eight hour equivalent exposure data (A(8) m/s2 r.m.s.) are provided for a range of cycling infrastructure surfaces in Edinburgh and Glasgow. These preliminary findings demonstrate that there is a potential public health issue associated with active travel and unsuitable pavement surfaces. Results may contribute to the development of pavement engineering design standards for cycling through considering vibration exposure data. The research aims to provide practical guidance relating to health surveillance action local authorities can take in improving cyclist’s comfort and safety.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 May 2018
EventUK Conference on Human Responses to Vibration 2018 - Macdonald Berystede Hotel, Ascot, United Kingdom
Duration: 11 Sept 201813 Sept 2018


ConferenceUK Conference on Human Responses to Vibration 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • cycling


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