An interesting article on the attitude of drivers to differently attired cyclists - "a lycra on a drop bar bike" vs "a skirt on an upright bike" 

Last week I mentioned something called the ‘Mary Poppins Effect’.  This is a syndrome encountered only, in my limited observation, by women (or those dressed as women) while riding a bicycle and it means that traffic treats you differently while looking like Mary Poppins (i.e, while wearing a skirt).  It really does! I’ve tried it in all guises.  I’ve ridden my........


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There was a study done a few years ago in the UK, where they took the same few riders, attired them differently and put them on different style bikes.


I couldn't find a non-paid-for link to the paper itself, but the gist of it was pretty much what other people have said here:


Woman in street clothes will be given a wide margin. Guy in lycra on a carbon speed-machine will be treated poorly.


I don't know if the apparent riding style / behaviour of the people riding was left to match the stereotypes that the drivers would have of those types of riders or if they were all well behaved!





Interesting, this (poorly designed, but interesting nonetheless) study also suggests white and maroon cars are risk factors!

Also interesting that in Dr Walker's (UK) study, even when he took the lane he still got (on average) more than a metre's passing distance. Somewhat unsurprisingly, buses gave the least - but still more than a metre. We can but wish...

Yes, this is one of the problems I have with the 'a metre matters' campaign.


At least a metre should be given if the car is travelling less than 50km/h - anything above that and the gap should increase with the speed of the vehicle - essentially, bicycles should be passed as if they were a car - if there is no safe room to pass then the car shouldn't pass.


'A metre matters' implies that's all you need to leave... and that's not a good thing.

Woman in street clothes will be given a wide margin


My wife found the opposite. Drivers seemed to take her "more seriously" on her road bike when in lyrca. Exactly the same route, same time of day etc.


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