Motor-vehicle drivers’ behavioral response to increased bicycle traffic

Joshua Klieger, Ian Savage*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: This paper investigates whether motor-vehicle driver behavior changes when there are more bicycles on the road. Method: Data on trips on a rapidly expanding public bike share scheme in Chicago are combined with speed violations captured by a network of 79 cameras. Using weekly data from July 2014 to December 2016, violations at 26 sites where there was a considerable increase in bicycle traffic are compared with a control group of 53 locations where rental bicycles are not available. Results: An increase in rental bicycle usage is statistically related to a reduction in the number of speeding violations, with an estimated elasticity of −0.04. Conclusion: The increased presence of bicyclists makes at least some motorists drive more cautiously. Practical Application: This research provides some insight into the mechanism behind the observed reduction in crash rates as bicyclists become more numerous. Some motorists moderate their speeds allowing more time to avoid collisions and a reduction in the severity of the vehicle-bicyclist collisions that still occur.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-102
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Safety Research
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Bicycles
  • Chicago
  • Speeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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