Blurred motion close up of cyclist wear high vis jacket cycling in cycle lane In unfortunate news for safety-conscious cyclists everywhere, a new study published in the May edition of Transportation Research examined how cyclists were viewed based on their safety gear and found that, in some cases, safety gear leads to riders appearing “less human.”
Researchers Mark Limb of the Queensland University of Technology and Sarah Collyer of Flinders University found that 30 percent of their respondents viewed cyclists wearing safety gear like helmets and safety vests in a dehumanizing manner.
Higher dehumanization perceptions , or seeing and treating people as less than fully human, have been linked to more aggressive behavior , a propensity to commit violence , and unfairly assigning blame . Video player poster image “Some cars are very [aggressive] when I ride road bikes wearing jerseys & helmet, but they are much much nicer when I ride fixed bikes wearing casual clothes & helmet,” posted one Twitter user in response to the survey. On this premise, researchers set out to learn how strongly that perception might be, surveying 563 people. This group was shown images of cyclists wearing helmets or safety vests and photos of cyclists without no safety equipment. Related Story Cyclists Sure Do Love Arguing About Helmets
“We found images of cyclists wearing helmets or safety vests to have a higher probability of being selected as less human compared to images of cyclists wearing no safety equipment,” according to the research abstract.