Survey finds bicyclists and motorists ignore traffic laws at similar rates - but cyclists do it for a different & interesting reason | Public Radio International

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The study gathered similar rates of infraction — 8 percent to 9 percent for drivers, and 7 to 8 percent for cyclists. And when Marshall researched the reasons a cyclist might break a traffic law, it turns out they are doing it for nearly the same reasons that a driver would, but with one difference.

Drivers and pedestrians will drive through or walk against a red light to save time.

“They’re not trying to be reckless or rude,” Marshall said. “Cyclists, they’re doing it for their own personal safety or perceived safety. They felt like they’re more visible.”

On a transportation grid designed with cars in mind, Marshall says cyclists are acting on what they perceive is better for their safety. It is a rational choice in a cyclist’s decision-making, he said. At a red light with no other cars crossing, a cyclist can get a head start on the next block.

“It’s interesting that you would break the law to feel safer,” Marshall says.

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