Media Framing of Fatal Bicycle Crashes in Hillsborough County: a Critical Discourse Analysis

Principal Investigator:

Julie Bond, MPA


This research seeks to gain an understanding of the complex roles of the media in shaping perceptions of a vulnerable road user group, and will help identify effective means to change language in local media reporting for fatal crashes involving bicyclists. Objectives include:

  1.  Maintain a dataset with diverse potential for conducting further research, examples are:
    • Future transportation studies should compare textual features of news reports in Hillsborough County to news reports in other areas. Regional differences in vernacular may affect local transportation culture and policy, and henceforth correlate with the frequency of bicyclist fatalities.
    • Other factors viable for comparison include differences in urban environments, infrastructure, and law enforcement policies. For instance, police reports are institutional texts that function to inform media and influence representations of bicyclists, providing yet another source of linguistic data.
    • A quantitative systematic analysis of “at fault” assignments in police reports of bicyclist fatalities to determine correlation of inaccurate fault assignments with other data points (e.g., age, race, gender, income).
    • Both this project and potential future projects are viable for replication with a focus on pedestrian fatalities.
  2. Evaluate the social effects of a “common sense” or “taken for granted” lexicon of transportation.
  3. Illustrate the nuances of language that shape (and are shaped by) institutional contexts to maintain social order.
Read more


Grant DTRT13-G-UTC56
USF # 79062-19
Funding Amount $40,000
Project Start Date 1/1/18
Expected Date of Completion 9/30/18
Performing Organization Center for Urban Transportation Research- National Center for Transit Research
Sponsor Organization Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology- University Transportation Centers Program -Department of Transportation
Project Manager Robert L. Bertini Ph.D
Principal Investigator Julie Bond MPA


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