A Rider-Centered Critical Decision Method Study to Better Understand the Challenges to Further Uptake of Cycling

Allison Duncan, Tim Horberry

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    Despite the many benefits of cycling, there is still a widespread perception that riding bicycles on public roads is unsafe. There has been a substantial increase in cycling research over the past decade, but little work has explored the challenges to greater uptake of cycling from a rider-centered perspective. To explore this, our research undertook a large international survey for experienced cyclists in which rider perspectives were explored using an in-depth process called the Critical Decision Method. The results revealed a wide range of self-reported cycling experi-ences, and most respondents classified themselves as either strong and fearless or enthused and confident. Few actual differences with respect to threatening incidents and rider countermeasures were present, illustrating how overall similarly experienced cyclists respond to threatening incidents. An overarching summary of all survey responses is presented with respect to each gender, then a more specific case study of two riders, one female and one male, is presented showing how many emotions and fear responses were similar for the different riders, but their coping strategies and reactions were somewhat different. It is concluded that further work to explore the issue from a rider-centered perspective is needed, and that the wide variety of cyclist types implies that there is no single recommendation for encouraging greater uptake of riding.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8
    Number of pages16
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
    This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and
    conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://
    creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


    • Bicycle
    • Critical decision method
    • Cycling
    • Rider emotions
    • Road safety

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Safety Research
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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