German bike messengers’ experiences and expressions of cycling anger

Objective: The present study has 3 objectives: First, we wanted to examine whether the Cycling Anger Scale (CAS) applies to German professional bike messengers, because this scale was previously developed with nonprofessional cyclists in Germany. Second, we wanted to look at possible differences in cycling anger experience and expression between professional German bike messengers and nonprofessional German cyclists. Third, we explored whether cycling anger is somehow related to driving anger and general anger.

Methods: We applied German versions of the CAS, the Driving Anger Scale (DAS), and the State–Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI) to a sample of 123 professional German bike messengers. Then we compared their ratings with the results of 421 nonprofessional German cyclists.

Results: Regarding our first objective, results indicate that the CAS model fit is better for nonprofessional than for professional cyclists. However, the CAS in a slightly modified version can be used for professional cyclists as well. As for our second objective, we show that professional cyclists experience significantly less cycling anger than nonprofessional cyclists. However, bike messengers report more frequent aggressive cycling behaviors when angry, indicating a weaker link between trait anger while cycling and aggressive behavior among professionals. Thirdly, we found relations between cycling anger, driving anger, and general anger.

Conclusions: We conclude that the CAS in its slightly modified 13-item version with the established 4 subscales produces an acceptable model fit and can be applied to professional German bike messengers for further research purposes or applied issues; for example, traffic education or self-awareness in terms of accident prevention behaviors. In addition, for professional cyclists, less anger does not result in less aggressive cycling behaviors. Subsequent research should explore the role of anger in behavioral regulation of cyclists’ unsafe cycling behaviors taking different levels of experience and professionalism into account in order to reduce adverse effects of anger on traffic safety.