ARE CYCLISTS VIEWED AS AN OUT-GROUP? AN INVESTIGATION OF MOTORISTS ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS
The present study aimed to identify if individuals are biased against cyclists due to their perceived status as being an out-group. In particular, the influence of the stereotype that cyclists often run through red lights was investigated to see if this stereotype had any influence on the participants’ road crossing behaviours. The experiment conducted required participants to make a decision on whether or not to cross the road at a light operated pedestrian crossing, basing their choice on the presence of a car, bicycle or nothing when they faced a light signal was green or red. Participants faced the road crossing and traffic lights, and the vehicles present were pictured stationary to the left or right of the pedestrian crossing. Participants then completed a questionnaire which gathered the participant’s attitudes through the use of 5 point Likert scales. It was hypothesised that participants would take longer to correctly cross the road when a cyclist is present when facing a green light and correctly cross the road faster when cars are present when facing a green light. The results did not support the hypothesis. However, a significant effect between light colour and vehicle type on reaction time was observed. Also, a positive correlation was found between hours driven in a week and bias scores derived from the questionnaire. Therefore, being more biased towards cyclists was related to driving more hours in a week. Influences that may have impacted the results are also discussed. Future research in this area may benefit from sampling larger numbers of cyclists and individuals that drive more frequently.