Ph.D. Spotlight: Drivers’ Perceptions Towards Cyclists and Bikeshare Users in the ECOBICI Service Area.

Despite the rapid global motorization, especially in developing countries, the use of the bicycle as urban transportation has increased in the last 35 years (Shaheen, Guzman, & Zhang, 2012). However, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have low cycling levels with bicycle mode share of little more than one percent (Buehler & Pucher, 2012). Some of the possible alternatives to promote the use of the bicycle is that the presence of bikeshare systems can encourage cycling by providing a safer environment for all types of cyclists (Fischman & Schepers, 2014). This dissertation examines the drivers’ perception towards cyclists and the possible difference in perception towards Ecobici bikeshare users and private cyclists. This research was carried out in Mexico City, at the EcoBici bikeshare service area.

Data collection was done by a self-reported survey distributed online and by intercept surveys conducted to drivers who drive within the study area and control area. The analysis of the 710 participants’ responses shows that drivers from the control area have a more positive perception towards cyclists, especially on issues related to bicycle investment and bicycle infrastructure.

Overall, younger generations reported a more positive perception towards cyclists, and most drivers perceive that cyclists are not predictable on the roads as most of the drivers reported feel nervous when overtaking cyclists. When comparing Ecobici users to private cyclists, the results suggest that drivers do not have a clear preference for Ecobici users over private cyclists. Nevertheless, drivers are also more in favor of encouraging family and friends to use Ecobici bicycles over private bicycles, which could indicate that, unconsciously, participants consider that traveling on an Ecobici bicycle is safer than going on a private bicycle.

The results from this study could have an impact on policymakers and transportation practitioners in Mexico City who would like to improve drivers-cyclists’ interactions in the road and to promote the use of the bicycle for transportation.

This post is based on Dr. Torres-Valdez’s dissertation abstract. Dr. Torres-Valdez is a graduate from Florida State University’s Urban and Regional Planning Ph.D. program. You can read more about this project on DigiNole.

A note from the blog editor: this dissertation spotlight was originally posted with the wrong attribution and has since been fixed. My sincerest apologies for the downright indefensible error in posting the incorrect name.

The feature image is from Pexels.

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