Understanding cyclists’ conflicts in the streets of a Latín American metropolis


Understanding cyclists’ conflicts in the streets of a Latín American metropolis

AuthorRodrigo Mora, Natan Waintrub, Cristhian Figueroa, Amarilis Horta
Line(s)Entorno Construido
Year of Publication2024
Journal Title

Travel Behaviour and Society

Cycling; Conflicts; Qualitative data; Auto-centric culture; Santiago.

Promoted by most governments as a sustainable form of transportation, cycling is surging worldwide. Despite the positive impacts of cycling, conflicts between cyclists and other street users such as pedestrians, cars and buses have increased, especially in countries lacking proper cycling infrastructure. This paper aims to understand a series of conflicts experienced by cyclists in Santiago de Chile, where cycling has expanded rapidly in the last fifteen years. To do so, three focus groups were held with cyclists having different levels of experience. The participants were asked to describe the main conflicts with other modes of transport and road users, as well as the coping strategies employed to deal with these conflicts. An inductive analysis ended with four categories related to cyclists’ conflicts in the streets and two related to strategies and lessons dealing with motorised vehicle drivers and other cyclists.

The analysis indicates that the unequal distribution of road space negatively influences cyclists’ experiences, who perceive themselves as being threatened constantly by overtaking cars in close proximity, as well as by different forms of verbal and sometimes physical aggression. It indicates that cyclists develop strategies to mitigate conflicts, ranging from making themselves visible at all times, to making use of bodily gestures. However, conflicts can still escalate. The results suggest that, in auto-centric urban contexts, cycling is a challenging chore that happens surrounded by the sensation of having fragile entitlements.

    Corresponding AuthorRodrigo Mora, rodrigomora@uchile.cl