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Terrorism, Dread Risk and Bicycle Accidents

Ayton, P. ORCID: 0000-0003-2285-4608, Murray, S. & Hampton, J. A. ORCID: 0000-0002-0363-8232 (2019). Terrorism, Dread Risk and Bicycle Accidents. Judgment and Decision Making, 14(3), pp. 280-287.


Following the airplane attacks of September 11th, 2001 it is claimed that many Americans, dreading a repeat of these events, drove instead of flying, and that, consequently, there were extra car accidents, increasing the number of fatalities directly caused by the attacks by 1,500. After the Madrid train bombings of March 11th, 2004, Spaniards, like Americans, avoided the attacked mode of travel, but no increase in car travel or fatal accidents resulted. Here we analyze behavioral concomitants of the July 7th 2005 bomb attacks on public transport in London. We find reduced underground train travel and an increase in rates of bicycling and, over the 6 months following the attacks, 214 additional bicyclist road casualties - a 15.4% increase. Nevertheless we found no detectable increase in car accidents. We conclude that, while fear caused by terrorism may initiate potentially dangerous behaviors, understanding the secondary effects of terrorism requires consideration of the environmental variables that enable fear to manifest in dangerous behaviors.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: public transport, decision making, risk perception, road accidents
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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