Sunday, July 7, 2019

Images with Sport Clothing and Helmets Deter People from Cycling


A study presented at the Velo-city conference in Dublin last month reveals that people from varied backgrounds connect bike helmets and sport clothing to higher danger in cycling. Shown pictures of cyclists with and without helmets, the majority set the helmeted cyclist out as in greater danger than the cyclist riding without a helmet.

This finding is very important to programs aiming to increase bicycling because it shows the negative effect of using images of cyclists decked out in safety gear. If we expect to make cycling a normal means of moving around our communities, we must choose images of cyclists wearing regular clothing, without helmets.

Here is the abstract from the study:

“In Road Safety Authority Ireland print and video artefacts, cyclists are as a rule depicted in high visibility clothing also suitable for sport, and a helmet. Four studies relevant to the Irish context identify fear as a primary barrier to cycling uptake, including the conviction cycling is socially unacceptable. Cycling advocates argue the depiction of cyclists as described reinforces these fears. To investigate whether their concern is valid, I conducted interviews and a card sorting exercise. The results indicate that depicting cyclists as described reinforces the perception that cycling is dangerous and socially unacceptable. Responses were consistent across gender groups, and two age groups (under thirty and over thirty). Depiction of cyclists in clothing currently the norm in road safety multimedia reinforces barriers to cycling uptake. Alternative clothing, which still comply with safety recommendations, should be considered.”

Read the entire study here.

Watch a video of the presentation here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Aggressive Drivers See Cyclists as ‘Less than Human’ Especially with Helmets

This recent article summarizing a new study reveals disturbing attitudes toward cyclists. Many people in the study actually saw cyclists as less than human, which justified their aggressive driving behavior. Sometimes they justified their behavior to the point of doing harming to cyclists.

Comments during the study so often referred to cyclists as insects that the researchers had to create a new evolution chart using insects so that subjects could point to where they believed cyclists fell.

The final paragraph of the article reveals a disturbing link to bicycle helmets:

"The research team did not make specific recommendations about how to improve public attitudes toward cyclists. But they did speculate that Australia’s mandatory helmet law may contribute to the problem by obscuring riders heads and faces. Riding “uniforms,” kits and Spandex, may further contribute to the “othering” of cyclists."

Read the article here: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2019/03/28/study-aggressive-driving-is-linked-to-seeing-cyclists-as-less-than-human/