Exploring effects of introducing a ban on handheld phone use for cyclists – Pre-post results from the Netherlands and Denmark

R. K. Brandt*, S. Haustein, M. Hagenzieker, M. Møller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Cyclists’ phone use can cause distractions and impose risks towards traffic safety. To prevent phone-related distractions, the Netherlands introduced a ban on handheld (HH) phone use for cyclists in July 2019. The effects of traffic rules on phone use and their underlying mechanisms are, however, uncertain. Comparing survey results from the Netherlands before (N = 553) and after (N = 484) the ban, using Denmark (before N = 568, after N = 519) as comparison group, this study explores whether introducing a ban is associated with changes in phone use, traffic rule beliefs, perceived risk, sense of guilt, and perceived annoyance. Comparison of phone function use before and after the Dutch ban revealed a significant decrease in the proportion using HH phone for conversation, while there was no change for other functions. In Denmark, proportions remained stable for all functions. Changes in the Netherlands possibly correspond to specific phone functions characteristics, e.g., how effortless one can pause and resume the function. The results additionally identified an increase in correct traffic rule identification, sense of guilt for HH phone use, and perceived annoyance, while there was no significant change in perceived risk of HH phone use. The study found that banning HH phone use was associated with increase in correct rule identification, but only to limited changes in HH phone use. Banning HH phone use might have greater effects in changing behaviours over time as a result of social mechanisms related to changes in sense of guilt and perceived annoyance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-219
Number of pages8
JournalTravel Behaviour and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Cyclist safety
  • Cyclists’ phone use
  • Preventive measures
  • Safety legislation
  • Traffic laws


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