Cycling, Safety and Sharing the Road: Qualitative Research with Cyclists and Other Road Users

  • Published: Department for Transport, Road Safety Web Publication No.17, 2010
  • Authors: S. Christmas, S. Helman, S. Buttress, C. Newman
  • Date Added: 27 Jun 2013
  • Last Update: 13 Nov 2014
  • Format: pdf


This report presents findings from qualitative research carried out with cyclists and other road-users in June 2009 by Simon Christmas Ltd, the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) and SHM, as part of the wider research programme, Road User Safety and Cycling, being led by TRL on behalf of the Department for Transport.

This phase of work has been largely ‘descriptive’, aiming to provide a map of the diversity of safety-relevant motivations, attitudes, perceptions and behaviour among cyclists and other road users (ORUs).


Each of eight groups of cyclists took part in two two-hour workshops, in which participants were engaged in a series of exercises to explore their views on the positives and negatives of cycling; their accounts of stress and risk on the road; their views on potential problems in interactions between cyclists and ORUs; and their use of safety gear.

Key Findings:

  • Cycling is not a single homogeneous activity, but a number of different activities that have in common the use of a two-wheeled unpowered vehicle.

  • Understanding people’s motivations to cycle is important for road safety because risk may be interpreted, experienced and managed in qualitatively different ways, depending on what one perceives oneself as doing and why one is doing it.