CURRENT (AND PREVIOUS) FUNCTION: Toon Ampe is a pre-doctoral scientific researcher at the Human Physiology and Sports Physiotherapy research group, Faculty LK at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. In 2019 he graduated as a master of science in Physical Education and Movement Sciences with the graduation option Physical activity, fitness and health, combined with the Minor Research, at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
RESEARCH AREA: Toon's research focuses on cycling for transport, wherein he is currently focusing specifically on the overtaking behaviour of motorized vehicles in cyclists. As a cyclist, you expect cars and other motorized vehicles to overtake you in a safe way with sufficient distance between you and the car. In practice, however, cyclists often get the feeling that they are being overtaken too closely, which may result in a possible fear during cycling and this fear may lead to a reduced use of the bicycle. Therefore it is important to better understand the overtaking behaviour of cars, which will increase the objective and subjective safety of cyclists.
CURRENT RESEARCH QUESTIONS: In Toon’s research, we want to investigate whether this feeling of fear is justified and whether cars really overtake cyclists with too little space in between. To determine whether or not an overtaking manoeuvre is too close, we look at the Belgian Law which prescribes a minimum overtaking distance of 1 meter in built-up areas (and 1.5 meters outside built-up areas). In addition, we are also investigating which option of transporting a child on the same bicycle (child bike seat or child bike trailer) is the safest in terms of overtaking distance. Finally, we will investigate whether the presence of a bicycle lane and cycling during peak hours and / or on crowded roads has an influence on the car's overtaking behaviour.
PRACTICAL APPLICABILITY: With these insights we hope to increase the objective and subjective safety of the cyclist, which will increase the number of cyclists. This increase would have a positive effect for both the (potential) cyclist himself, as for the society. On the one hand, cycling will contribute to an increased physical activity of the cyclist, which has positive consequences for his / her physical and mental health. On the other hand, an increased number of cyclists will also contribute to reduced air pollution and traffic.