Qualitative analysis on cycle commuting in two cities with different cycling environments and policies

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Abstract

This work presents the results of a qualitative study of the rating of the bicycle as the transport mode to travel to the workplace. Twenty-one semistructured interviews were performed in two Spanish cities, Vitoria-Gasteiz and Madrid, with different cycling infrastructures and percentages of bicycle usage. The results were categorized and interpreted within the framework of the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991). The results indicate that the bicycle is considered a reliable and flexible transport mode in instrumental terms, and that providing objective information about its advantages could increase its attraction for non-cyclists. Other intrinsic benefits, such as its effects on physical fitness, are highly valued. The benefits of bicycle usage on the environment do not seem to be aspects that directly motivate its use. These symbolic beliefs contribute to its revaluation as a transport mode, and may increase the acceptance of public policies favoring it. The analysis also shows a prototypical image of the cyclist as a young, active, and socially aware person. The perception of risk of accidents is the main obstacle for non-cyclists, but not among riders. The latter make internal attributions about their personal safety, choosing routes with less traffic, riding the bicycle in a safer way. Control beliefs distinguish between beliefs associated with external factors (like infrastructure and other measures provided by public bodies to increase cycling) and those attributed to internal factors (perception of self-efficacy in the face of drawbacks, clothing, climatology, or insecurity). Presenting these coping strategies to people contemplating the possibility of cycling can increase their motivation. These results may be particularly useful when designing measurement instruments that take these differences of perception of control into account.

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Lois, D., López-Sáez, M., & Rondinella, G. (2016). Qualitative analysis on cycle commuting in two cities with different cycling environments and policies. Universitas Psychologica, 15(2), 175–194. https://doi.org/10.11144/Javeriana.upsy15-2.qacc

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