Australian Researchers have produced a study that has led them to believe the word “cyclists” should be banned, because it “dehumanizes” people who ride bikes.
Researchers at Queensland University of Technology and Monash University claim to have found a link between the word “cyclists” and a tendency for motorists to “dehumanize” bikers, according to the Daily Mail.
Queensland University Professor Narelle Haworth claimed the study found 55 percent of non-cyclists surveyed in Victoria, NSW, and Queensland felt that cyclists were “not completely human.”
With those results in hand, Haworth is advocating for an end to the use of the word “cyclists.”
Haworth, who is also Director of the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety in Queensland, insisted that the elimination of the word would help bike rider safety.
“If we used the term people on bikes, instead of cyclists, we’re giving a term that is more human-like and less like a species,” Haworth told Daily Mail.
“We need to spread the idea that those people [cyclists] could be any of us. There is need to grow a culture of mutual respect for people on bikes,” Hayworth added.
The study also reportedly found that one in ten drivers would purposefully block bike riders and admitted to cutting off bikers in the past. Others admitted to yelling at bikers and even throwing things at them.
The professor insisted that eliminating the word would take some of the sting out of the negativity between bike riders and motorists.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.