Analysis of the Perception of Safety Among Cyclists

Analysis of the Perception of Safety Among Cyclists


A Lawson, B Ghosh, Trinity College Dublin; V Pakrashi, University College Cork, IE; W Y Szeto, The University of Hong Kong, HK


Safety experiences of cyclists in Dublin have been studied through a questionnaire type survey. Logistic Regression models compare cyclists according to car-ownership, gender and age. A Cycling Safety Index quantifying safety perception is proposed.


Non-motorized travel modes such as, walking and cycling has been recognized as critical in solving problems related to growing traffic congestion, harmful vehicle emissions and public health issues. As a result, in recent years the policy makers and practitioners are actively promoting walking and cycling as sustainable alternatives to motorized travel. Unlike walking, cycling requires sharing of road space with other modes of travel. To promote cycling in a city like Dublin, it is important to establish the safety and efficiency of the existing road transport network from a cyclist?s perspective. This paper presents a study on understanding the perceived safety experience of cyclists in Dublin, Ireland. A fixed-response questionnaire based survey was conducted in order to gather information, previously unavailable in Dublin, on the perceived safety of cyclists, with regards to the available cycling infrastructure, the use of safety accessories, the effect of prevalent road and weather conditions, as well as various other aspects of travelling by cycle in Dublin's mixed-mode network. The survey, conducted over a 3 month period between March 7th and June 1st 2011 receiving 1,954 responses, collected information from existing cyclists, who have regularly cycled in Dublin within the previous 12 months.

The survey responses were analysed to establish the determinants of a cyclist's safety experience identified by their car-ownership, age or gender an Ordered Logistic Regression framework. The OLR models which compared car-ownership of respondent cyclists found that compliance with the rules of the road among cyclists that do not have access to a car is important to significantly increasing their safety experience. The models comparing cyclists of age 25 years and over, with those under 25 showed that cyclists? level of experience to be significant only to the feeling of safety of the older cyclists; for under 25 cyclists, cycling experience did not affect the safety perception of a cyclist while cycling in Dublin. The models investigation safety experience of cyclists based on gender, show different safety accessories are significant to each gender. These safety accessories are associated with a decreased safety experience and therefore it may be that cyclists do not make use of these safety accessories because they increase how safe the cyclists feel, but as a means of protecting themselves as they feel vulnerable otherwise. Interestingly, the use of a helmet while cycling was not found to a factor which significantly increase the perception of safety to either gender.

Additionally, this study proposes a Cyclist Safety Index (CSI) for individual cyclists to quantify their perception of safety while on road. The findings of this analysis reaffirms that cyclists do not consider that they experience superior safety than car-drivers. This indicates that serious policy interventions may be necessary to improve the safety experience of existing cyclists which in turn will motivate non-cyclists to convert to cycling.


Association for European Transport