Unsafe riding behaviors of shared-bicycle riders in urban China: A retrospective survey

Academic Article


  • Shared-bicycle use has skyrocketed in urban China, but little is known about the safety of bicycle users. The Chinese popular media reports multiple risky riding behaviors among shared bicycle riders, but scientific research on the topic is lacking. Therefore, we conducted a retrospective WeChat-based online survey to examine how often shared bicycle riders report engaging in risky cycling behaviors in urban China. Eight unsafe shared bicycle riding behaviors were assessed: not wearing helmets, running red lights, cycling against the traffic flow, riding in lanes designed for motor vehicles, riding in lanes designed for pedestrians, carrying passengers on bicycles, using cell phones while riding, and eating while riding. In total, 1960 valid questionnaires were collected. The proportion of participants who reported always or often having unsafe riding behavior in the past month, ranged from 1.1% for carrying passengers on the bicycles to 97.6% for failing to wear a helmet. Demographic characteristics were associated with unsafe behaviors through multivariate logistic regression, with male riders and riders aged 25 years or younger more likely to ride while using cell phones than females (AOR = 2.94) and those 36 years or older (AOR = 3.57). Cyclists with undergraduate education were more likely to wear helmets than those with postgraduate education or higher (AOR = 0.21). Compared to riders from central municipalities governed directly by the central government, riders from provincial capitals, deputy provincial cities, and smaller cities were at higher risks of riding in lanes for pedestrians, respectively (AOR = 1.59, 2.82 and 1.61). Riders who rode over 5 h a week and who rode on weekends were more likely to carry passengers than those who rode less than 1 h a week (AOR = 4.72) and those who rode only on weekdays (AOR = 3.93). We conclude that shared-bicycle riders frequently engage in some unsafe riding behaviors in urban China. Younger age, lower level of education, and longer hours of riding each week are associated with greater risks of some unsafe riding behaviors. Shared bicycles offer substantial benefit to societal health and transportation, but evidence-based interventions should be considered to reduce risks from unsafe shared bicycle riding behaviors. A well-designed road infrastructure with dedicated on-road bicycle lanes and readily-accessible comfortable, low-cost, and safe helmets may also reduce unsafe riding behaviors and unwanted crashes and injuries for shared bicycle riders.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wu X; Xiao W; Deng C; Schwebel DC; Hu G
  • Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 7
  • Volume

  • 131