Population growth increase of vehicle ownership, and development patterns have resulted in greater levels of congestion, pollution, and crash frequency. A proposed solution to lessen current transportation system demands is to increase the share of bicycle trips. Furthermore, as cycling is perceived by some as both a dangerous and stressful mode of transportation, understanding the factors that lead to less comfortable and stressful riding, can help drive bicycle infrastructure development. To establish a more robust understanding of the behaviors of bicyclists and how infrastructure design and operations influence them, a bicycle simulator was used to evaluate bicyclist performance measures of velocity, horizontal displacement, and physiological responses (i.e., galvanic skin response) while riding in varying roadway conditions.
Results showed that bicyclists in the bike lane condition, had a GSR reading 1.77 peaks per min less than when cycling in the no bike lane condition. When bicyclists were in no bike lane condition, the GSR reading was not affected by vehicle speed but it was affected by the vehicular volume. Additionally, females felt less comfortable when riding in either bike condition, even though they reported that they were “Strong and Fearless” riders. The methodology used for this study sets forth the foundation for future research that could evaluate varying facility designs and a wider range of individuals.