According to the study Sharing the road, 93 % of European citizens are afraid due to the behavior of other pedestrians and drivers of vehicles of all types when traveling on public roads. The study, carried out by the VINCI Autoroutes Foundation and IPSOS and published at the end of 2023, delves into the minds of Europeans to see how they operate when traveling on public roads.
And, according to the results (based on the responses of more than 12,000 respondents), European drivers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and cyclists are not great when it comes to sticking to good traffic practices.
Too many risks when driving
European citizens say that poor coexistence on the roads causes anxiety and tension. A concern that 96% of those surveyed attribute to others taking too many risks when traveling. In the case of Spanish drivers, 93% say this is their greatest source of anxiety. Among users in other European countries, 96% of cyclists say they feel threatened by the recklessness of others and 89% of pedestrians say they feel at risk for the same reason.
Additionally, a large number of respondents report being afraid of aggressive motor vehicle drivers. Europe-wide, 88% of car drivers, 82% of motorcyclists and 78% of cyclists say that the aggressiveness of motorists scares them.
Reserved spaces? Yes, as long as they are for me
Another aspect of mobility that is affected by the attitudes of Europeans and Spaniards on the streets and roads has to do with reserved spaces. Sidewalks are used by motorists and cyclists to park (61% of Spanish motorists, above the European rate of 45%) and even to move around (again, 45% of Spaniards, almost double the European average of 28%).
As a result of this undue use of sidewalks, the risks for pedestrians increase considerably. Thus, 64% of European pedestrians say they have had a brush with a bicycle or scooter when traveling on the sidewalk.
Furthermore, regarding those who travel by car, more than 30% of Europeans admit that they do not check if cyclists are approaching before opening the car door and 20%, that they sometimes merge into the lane designated for public transport. According to the study, they do not respect the rules much when parking their car either. At least 32% say they have no problem with double parking, 21% say they do it in bus lanes and 17% say they do it in spaces reserved for the disabled.
Mobile phones and red traffic lights
The study also reveals that the habits of the majority of public road users leave much to be desired, both due to their tendency to be distracted by their mobile phones and their willingness to ignore important signs, such as traffic lights.
Thus, 51% of motorcyclists, 58% of pedestrians, 31% of cyclists and 62% of European drivers admit that sometimes their smartphone distracts them when driving. At the same time, according to last year’s edition of the same study, red (or amber) traffic lights fail to stop 65% of motorists, 37% of cyclists and 56% of pedestrians.
The positive point of the study comes from the empathy aroused in users of public roads when they adopt other people’s means of transportation. Among European drivers who use bicycles regularly, 41% say they respect signs more than when driving.