Bicycling campaigns promoting health versus campaigns promoting safety: A randomized controlled online study of ‘dangerization’

Tim Gamble, Ian Walker, Aleksandra Laketa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)
206 Downloads (Pure)


This study tested the idea that promoting bicycle safety might inadvertently discourage bicycling by having negative effects on how the activity is perceived. It also tested the contrary idea that stressing the health benefits of bicycling would have a positive effect on perceptions and intentions to cycle. Two-hundred and twenty-eight adults were randomly allocated to read safety-focused, health-focused, or control publicity materials and their immediate influences on bicycling perceptions were measured. Health-focused materials significantly increased bicycling’s perceived health benefits amongst non-bicyclists and had no influence on perceived risk; the safety-focused campaign had no effect on either perceived risks or health benefits. Neither campaign measurably changed intentions to bicycle nor the perceived enjoyment of bicycling, both of which were clearly higher amongst bicyclists than non-bicyclists. The study suggests that, whilst safety-focused campaigns are unlikely to have an immediate negative effect on people’s perceptions and intentions to cycle, nor do they offer anything positive to this group; health-focused campaigns, on the other hand, make bicycling appear more beneficial to those who do not currently do it. In addition, although the possibility exists that current bicyclists are a qualitatively different sub-population, able to enjoy bicycling in non-conducive environments, their rating bicycling as more enjoyable than non-bicyclists suggests new campaigns might usefully emphasize the enjoyment of bicycling to encourage its uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-378
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • bicycling
  • cycling
  • risk perception
  • enjoyment
  • health benefits
  • public health campaigns


Dive into the research topics of 'Bicycling campaigns promoting health versus campaigns promoting safety: A randomized controlled online study of ‘dangerization’'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this