Does promoting bicycle safety inadvertently discourage bicycling?

Timothy Gamble, Ian Walker, Aleksandra Laketa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


This study tested the idea that promoting bicycle safety might inadvertently discourage the healthy activity of bicycling by having negative effects on how the activity is perceived. It also tested the idea that stressing the health benefits of bicycling would have a positive effect on perceptions and intentions to cycle. Two-hundred and twenty-eight bicyclist and non-bicyclist adults were randomly allocated to read safety-focused, health-focused, or control publicity materials and their immediate influences on perceived risks, health benefits and enjoyment of bicycling, and intention to bicycle, were measured. Health-focused materials significantly increased bicycling’s perceived health benefits amongst non-bicyclists (t(28) = 4.52, p = .0006) and had no influence on perceived risk; the safety-focused campaign had no effect on either perceived risks or health benefits for either group. Neither campaign measurably changed intentions to bicycle nor the perceived enjoyment of bicycling, both of which were clearly higher amongst bicyclists than non-bicyclists (Wilks’s λ = .49, F(1,210) = 218.02, p < .001, Wilks’s λ = .81, F(1,222) = 52.83, p < .001). The study suggests that safety-focused campaigns are unlikely to have any immediate effect on people’s perceptions and intentions to cycle; health-focused campaigns seem to make bicycling appear more beneficial to those who do not currently do it. 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 hints that new campaigns might usefully emphasise enjoyment of bicycling to encourage uptake.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2015
EventBPS Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference, 2015 - London, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Sept 201518 Sept 2015


ConferenceBPS Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference, 2015
Country/TerritoryUK United Kingdom


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