Episode Summary

Welcome back to the Safety of Work podcast. Today, we discuss risk compensation and decide whether or not it actually exists.

Episode Notes

We are fortunate to have a few resources we can reference for today’s topic. Please see below for links to the papers we mentioned in our conversation.


  • Defining risk compensation.
  • Risk compensation in road traffic.
  • Argument by analogy.
  • What causes people to believe in risk compensation.
  • Why robust data equals a real effect.
  • Practical takeaways.


“…I think this is the sort of phenomenon that causes people to believe in risk compensation.”

“Basically, what they’re saying is, if there was a real effect, it would be robust regardless of how you crunched the data.”

“Just because someone does lots of citing of literature or quotes from scientific literature, doesn’t mean that their interpretation of that literature is rigorous and scientific.”


Bicycle Helmets and Risky Behaviour: A Systematic Review

Risk Compensation Literature – The Theory and Evidence

Driver Approach Behaviour at an Unprotected Railway Crossing Before and After Enhancement of Lateral Sight Distance

The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation

The Theory of Risk Homeostasis