Road wars? The role of language in perceptions of bikes and cars sharing the road: Possible implications for social marketing interventions

Tapp, A., Rundle-Thiele, S., Anibaldi, R., Warren, S. and Beardmore, A. (2014) Road wars? The role of language in perceptions of bikes and cars sharing the road: Possible implications for social marketing interventions. In: Australian Association of Social Marketing Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 1-3 December 2014. Brisbane, Australia: Australian & New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Available from:

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In ‘(re)emerging cycling regions’ such as Australia and the United Kingdom, cycling has experienced increased interest as a viable form of everyday transport as an alternative to cars and public transport, as well as growing popularity as leisure or sporting activity. In the absence of segregated infrastructure, harmonious road sharing is going to be an important issue to sustain this growth. Road sharing, however, has become a controversial issue. Media reports in both the United Kingdom and Australia, albeit somewhat exaggerated, have described the altercations between cyclists and motorists as road wars. Whether exaggerated or not, the consequences of this rhetoric are potentially serious for the growth of cycling: rhetorical battles may only serve to feed yet more negative perceptions about the safety of going cycling on car-dominated roads. Ultimately, the rhetoric of ‘road wars’ could discourage cycling. In seeking to avoid this outcome, social marketers can design interventions to increase harmony between road users. However, early attempts at encouraging harmony such as Delaware’s ‘Share the Road’, and Scotland’s ‘Nice way Code’ campaigns have not been regarded as successful. Hence, a crucial first step in improving this track record is to understand more fully the rhetorical context of the problem. The aim of this research is to critically analyse the on-line and media rhetoric surrounding the ‘road wars’ issue. Using Braun and Clarke’s five step thematic analysis approach, researchers will seek to uncover insights that will help generate social marketing solutions. Whilst initial coding has been completed ‘bottom-up’ using a grounded approach, the data will henceforth be analysed using a theoretical framework consisting of social representation theory, and theories of in/out group representations, stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:social marketing, motorists, cyclists, sharing road space, content analysis
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Business and Law > Department of Business Management
ID Code:24354
Deposited By: S. Warren
Deposited On:24 Nov 2014 14:39
Last Modified:19 Oct 2018 04:20

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