Road Sharing in Europe: Uneasy Cohabitation by Users  

Road Sharing in Europe: Uneasy Cohabitation by Users  

The VINCI Autoroutes Foundation has published the results of a unique study on “Sharing the road”. Like the Baromètre de la conduite responsable (Responsible Driving Barometer), this Ipsos-conducted survey offers an overview of the behaviour of Europeans dealing with the coexistence of different modes of transport; this includes drivers of cars and motorised two-wheelers, cyclists, users of personal light electric vehicles (PLEVs) and pedestrians.

How do they feel while travelling? How much attention do they pay to other road users? Are they following the rules of the road? Does the use of different modes of travel have an impact on their behaviour? At a time of accelerating development of active modes of transport – including cycling – sharing the road – and public space in general require all parties to be able to adapt in order to guarantee safe and peaceful travel for all. The responses provided by 12,400 Europeans highlight the need to make all users aware of the need to respect others and the rules, and thus enable harmonious coexistence between the various transport modes.

Report Highlights

In Europe, the regular use of active modes of transport is still second to car use.

The car is, and remains, the primary mode of transportation in Europe. However, for their daily journeys, Europeans are also regular users of active modes. 66% regularly walk, and 22% regularly use a bicycle. Another 7% use a motorised two-wheeler, and 3% a scooter or hoverboard. 

Regardless of the mode of travel, the prospect of sharing the road creates anxiety and tension.

The diversity of modes of transport (cars, motorised two-wheelers, bicycles, PLEVs, walking) and the changes in their respective shares, in a constrained public space, makes cohabitation between the various users complex and often difficult. Indeed, 93% of road users in Europe are afraid of the risky behaviour of others. 

Risk-taking and non-compliance with the basic rules of the road affect all categories of users and, overall, men more often than women.

Despite the fact that phone use is recognised as one of the main sources of distraction, causing many accidents, more than half of motorists, motorcyclists and pedestrians use their phone while driving or walking. For example, 66% of motorists (70% of men and 62% of women), 58% of pedestrians walk while using the telephone (56% of men and 59% of women).  

Tension on the roads is also linked to non-respect of spaces reserved for certain categories of users.

Respect for the spaces reserved for certain categories of more vulnerable users must take precedence, in order to ensure their safety. Lack of space, traffic density, safety concerns … these are all false “good reasons” for encroaching on the spaces reserved for other road users and putting them at risk. This includes cyclists walking on pavements, motorists opening their car door without checking if a cyclist is coming, pedestrians crossing by non-designated places, motorcyclists parking on pavements, and many others. 

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