School of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Research into bicycle dynamics

Since 2011, the LuFG "Computer Simulation for Fire Protection and Pedestrian Traffic" has been investigating the riding behavior of cyclists in cooperation with the LuFG "Environmentally Compatible Infrastructure Planning and Urban Development".

To this end, cycling experiments were carried out with around 35 people in May 2012. The aim of the experiments was to investigate the acceleration behavior of an individual rider and the riding behavior in a group.


In the first series of experiments, the test subjects were instructed to accelerate to their desired speed without the influence of other cyclists.

The following diagram shows the speed progression of a cyclist during the acceleration phase (mean value of the participants). It can be seen from the diagram that the average desired speed of the participants is approx. 4.3 m/s or 15.5 km/h. The acceleration phase lasts around 6-7 seconds. Other measured variables are the distance covered during the acceleration phase and the standard deviation of the desired speeds. These are approximately 20-25 meters and approx. 2 m/s respectively.

The aim of the second series of tests was to investigate the behavior of cyclists in a closed traffic system. For this purpose, groups with a certain number of cyclists were instructed to move in a closed oval.

With the help of the test series, the above fundamental diagram can be created. This shows that the maximum flow of just under one vehicle per second occurs at a density of between 0.2 and 0.3 vehicles per meter.

In addition to the experiments, a vehicle-following model, the "Necessary Deceleration Model (NDM)", has been developed as part of the investigations. This reproduces the results of the experiments and is therefore validated for single-lane closed systems, among others.

Videos and raw data of the group experiments can be found here.

For more information about the model, the experiments and their results see:

Andresen, E., Chraibi, M., Seyfried, A., & Huber, F. (2014). Basic driving dynamics of cyclists. In Simulation of Urban Mobility (pp. 18-32). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.


Universal flow-density relation of single-file bicycle, pedestrian and car motionJ. Zhang, W. Mehner, S. Holl, M. Boltes, E. Andresen, A. Schadschneider, and A. SeyfriedPhysics letters / A 378(44), 3274 - 3277 (2014)DOI: 10.1016/j.physleta.2014.09.039

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