A new study has found that drivers who cycle even a small amount are far more likely to support improved cycle infrastructure. The researchers concluded that even a moderate amount of cycling on the road can change a motorist’s view.
The Portland State University study, Driver Attitudes about Bicyclists: Negative Evaluations of Rule-Following and Predictability, found that whether or not a motorist also cycled had the biggest impact on support for cycle facilities.
Motorist-only respondents tended to be significantly opposed to cycle infrastructure and researchers concluded that “events and programs that result in even moderate increases in people’s bike use may have wide-reaching effects on … their willingness to support bicycle infrastructure in their communities.”
Writing at BikeBiz, Carlton Reid suggests that cycle outreach programmes aimed at motorists could therefore be a key means of gaining support for improved cycle infrastructure. A number of training schemes for those who drive professionally now incorporate a segment which involves cycling on the road.
Reid points out that while many see investment in cycle training as diverting funds that would be better spent on protected cycle infrastructure, the study suggests that it could in fact play a key role in changing perceptions, thus encouraging wider social acceptance of the need for physical measures.