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by Mark Zalewski
April 12, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Bouhanni wins Paris-Camembert; The Status of Women’s Pro Cycling – Part 3: Owning the Road Ahead; Scarponi to replace Aru in Giro after knee injury worse than initially believed; Alaphilippe out of Ardennes Classics with injury; Wout Poels out of Ardennes with knee injury; BMC closes out Belgian Classics without Van Avermaet; Quinziato announces retirement at end of 2017; Sunweb regaining riders injured in early season; Montana legislature removes proposed bicycle fee amendment from bill; Researchers study why cyclists break road rules; Video: The bike is just a detail; Video: 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Focus on ORICA-Scott; Video: Tour de Yorkshire promo.
Two graduate student researchers in Colorado studied the reasons why cyclists break the rules of the road, with the overarching rationale from the respondents being to improve their own safety as they cycle, as well as saving energy, compared to vehicle drivers who rationalise their illegal behaviours as time saving.
“Nearly everyone has jaywalked, rolled through a stop sign, or driven a few miles per hour over the speed limit, but most such offenses face no legal consequences,” the authors wrote. “Society also tends to see these relatively minor infractions that almost all people make—though they are unmistakably illegal—as normal and even rational.
“Bicyclists who break the law, however, seem to attract a higher level of scorn and scrutiny. While the academic literature has exhaustively covered unlawful driving behaviors, there remains little research on bicyclists who break the rules of the road. This paper examines rule-breaking bicyclists and the factors associated with such behaviors. We also explore the question: are bicyclists making rational, albeit illegal, choices—similar to most drivers and pedestrians—or are bicyclists reckless and dangerous?”
The study utilised answers from 18,000 respondents and concluded that while “younger people and males tend to exhibit higher levels of illegal bicycling behavior, the overwhelming majority of bicyclists are not reckless.
“Unlawful drivers and pedestrians tend to rationalize their behaviors as time saving; bicyclists similarly rationalize their illegal behaviors but were more inclined to cite increasing their own personal safety and/or saving energy. Most bicyclists can generally be described as rational individuals trying to function safely and efficiently given the context and norms of where they live and the transportation system put in front of them.”
Click through to read the full study at the Journal of Transport and Land Use.