Just before Christmas, I interviewed Dr Rachel Aldred, who does fantastic work both as a Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Westminster, and with her Near Miss Project, looking at what helps and hinders people to cycle more in the UK, including a focus on issues of equality, diversity and equity in cycling. You can listen to the interview as a podcast here, and I’ve transcribed it below, if you prefer to read instead.
ProWomensCycling: Can you describe what you do in a nutshell?
Rachel Aldred: I do a lot of research in cycling in a range of ways, using a lot of different methods, but cycling is really my research passion. I also teach Transport Planning as well, and lead an MSc in Transport Planning.
PWC: And you have quite a lot of other strings to your bow – you’re involved in the London Cycling Campaign, and a lot of other projects. The one I was interested in is the Near Miss Project – can you tell us a little more about that?
RA: The Near Miss Project got going just over a year ago, and it looks at cycling ‘near misses’, but at the heart of it, I wanted to do this One Day Diary, and get people to record cycling trips, and any near miss-type incidents they experienced over the course of one day, and then the idea was to derive a near miss rate that you could compare with injury rates, for example, because it seemed to me – and we know now from the research too – that near misses are really very common, and can have a substantial impact on people, but there’s very little work done on them. We don’t know how often they happen, and so on. So I really wanted to find out about near misses, both from injury prevention purposes, but also from the cycling experience angle, that these things that happen, potentially, every day, could have a substantial impact on people, and how people feel about cycling.