Get on if possible, get off if necessary. Traffic safety for senior citizen cyclists (English summary)

Older cyclists run a higher risk of being injured. In order to reduce that risk, it is not enough to only implement infrastructural and bicycle-focused measures. Approximately half of all accidents were in fact partly caused by the (unsafe) behaviour of cyclists. Measures that target the behaviour of cyclists are therefore also required. Sociopsychology and behavioural economics both offer possibilities for achieving this.

This report is available in Dutch.

This is the conclusion of the KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis based on a study conducted on behalf of the Traffic Safety department of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment’s Directorate-General for Accessibility. The report details the options for rendering older cyclists more conscious of the associated risks, as well as the use of influences pertaining to the social environment.

First, this can be achieved by taking human nature into account. People do not always make rational, well-informed decisions; behaviour is often intuitive and subconscious. As such, a distorted view of the scale of the traffic safety problem leads to an ‘illusion of invulnerability’. By taking this unconscious behaviour into account, bicycle safety can be improved. Second, behavioural change can be achieved through the use of the social environment: we allow our choices to be dependent on the opinions and actions of other people. Safe behaviour can therefore be controlled via the social norms that apply to this social environment and through the use of role models.