Mobile phone use while cycling: Incidence and effects on behaviour and safety

D. De Waard, P. Schepers, W. Ormel, K.A. Brookhuis

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The effects of mobile phone use on cycling behaviour were studied. In study 1, the prevalence of mobile phone use while cycling was assessed. In Groningen 2.2% of cyclists were observed talking on their phone and 0.6% were text messaging or entering a phone number. In study 2, accident-involved cyclists responded to a questionnaire. Only 0.5% stated that they were using their phone at the time of the accident. In study 3, participants used a phone while cycling. The content of the conversation was manipulated and participants also had to enter a text message. Data were compared with just cycling and cycling while listening to music. Telephoning coincided with reduced speed, reduced peripheral vision performance and increased risk and mental effort ratings. Text messaging had the largest negative impact on cycling performance. Higher mental workload and lower speed may account for the relatively low number of people calling involved in accidents. Statement of Relevance: Although perhaps mainly restricted to flat countries with a large proportion of cyclists, mobile phone use while cycling has increased and may be a threat to traffic safety, similar to phone use while driving a car. In this study, the extent of the problem was assessed by observing the proportion of cyclists using mobile phones, sending questionnaires to accident-involved cyclists and an experimental study was conducted on the effects of mobile phone use while cycling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number918526885
Pages (from-to)30-42
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • operator workload
  • transportation safety
  • SIZE
  • TASK


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