Few studies have probed the role of attitudes in interactions between drivers and bicyclists. Research has shown that perceptions of situations or other roadway users may be a function of mode, and drivers do not treat all bicyclists equally. Most existing research on attitudes between drivers and bicyclists relies on surveys of bicyclists; little data exist on driver attitudes. The data presented in this paper are from a comprehensive evaluation of protected bike lanes in five large U.S. cities that included survey responses of 2,283 residents. In addition to questions about their travel behavior, respondents were asked about the rule-following behavior and predictability of “people they encounter in the street,” including drivers and bicyclists. Results showed that people who primarily commute by car are significantly more negative toward bicyclists than toward other drivers. People who make most of their non-commute trips by car were especially positive toward other drivers and negative toward bicyclists. Interestingly, while people who commute primarily by bicycle were more balanced in their evaluations than car commuters, they still rated drivers as more rule-following and predictable than bicyclists. Still, some amount of bicycling was one of the strongest predictors of more positive attitudes toward bicyclists. Overall, the analysis revealed significant negative evaluations of bicyclists, and even people who make some or most of their trips by bicycle hold negative attitudes about bicyclists’ rule following and predictability. These negative evaluations affected drivers’ view of bicycling as a transportation option and predicted whether drivers support building additional separated bicycle facilities.
Driver Attitudes about Bicyclists: Negative Evaluations of Rule-Following and Predictability [TRB conference paper]