Cycling and non-aggressive driving in urban areas: What are the factors enabling them and how environment-friendly behaviour underpins their relationship?

Alexandros Oikonomou, Socrates Basbas, Ioannis Politis, Alexandros Nikitas, Georgios Georgiadis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Bicycles, especially after Covid-19, are emerging as an increasingly popular travel mode, but at the same time cycling is still viewed and treated negatively by some drivers. Aggressive driving, in particular, affects all road users adversely but disproportionately so cyclists who could be (or feel) in danger because of that. Non-aggressive driving is important in this light but often overlooked by the literature. This study aims to identify the factors influencing the decision to cycle or drive non-aggressively. 

Methods: The driver's choice of using a bicycle and driving their car non-aggressively was investigated using the framework of Paul C. Stern's theory of Environmentally Significant Behaviour (ESB). A face-to-face questionnaire study took place in the city of Thessaloniki, Greece, asking 140 participating drivers to answer 32 questions. Two Structural Equation Models (SEM) based on ESB theory were constructed, one for each choice. 

Results: There is a direct connection between the absence of prejudice against cyclists and drivers choosing to cycle or drive non-aggressively. Drivers who prioritise specific personal values, such as safety, equality, and respect for diversity, are more likely to be willing to cycle. On the other hand, drivers with more traffic violations and better knowledge of speed limits often display more aggressive behaviour when driving. 

Conclusions: The study emphasised the importance of implementing policies that encourage drivers to alter their travel behaviour by shifting towards cycling and reducing aggressive driving. Measures that combat negative attitudes towards cyclists may increase cycling and inspire efforts to create an environment that fosters the harmonious coexistence between car drivers and cyclists.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101768
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Early online date12 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

Cite this