In this thread Grumpy Rooster (aka YEL020) posted this link to the ABC:
Which sounded like a bad bit of reporting to me, so I Googled for the research and found:Dragways may increase street racing: study
A new study has questioned the assumption that dragways reduce the incidence of illegal racing on public roads.
The joint study between Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has found dragways are linked with more relaxed attitudes to speeding and increased risk-taking on public roads.
One hundred and eighty male drivers under 25-years of age were interviewed as part of the research.
The ACT Government is currently pursuing plans to build a dragway.
ADFA researcher James Warn says a multi-pronged approach is needed to curb the behaviour of motorsport enthusiasts.
He says it should make the ACT Government think carefully about building a dragway in Canberra.
"A legal dragway is just part of the mix," he said.
"There is no way that if we do not set up the dragway correctly, there is no way we will shift all the illegal street racing off the public roads and instead we may just encourage more of it."
Which was much more sensible. I've bolded what I consider the key paragraphs.Motorsport revs-up illegal street racing interest
Involvement in motorsport and legal dragways had a direct impact on illegal street racing, University of New South Wales researchers announced recently.
Research conducted by James Warn, Paul Tranter and Simon Kingham suggested sensation-seeking young males often duplicated behaviour observed at motorsport events.
“There is a popular assumption that illegal street racers will move to legal dragways and this would make the roads safer. However j ust opening a legal dragway may not automatically shift illegal street racing off the public roads. We need to know more about what factors would make this happen,” Dr Tranter said.
“If we do not do the right things, a legal dragway may simply increase interest in illegal street racing.”
“Watching motorsport may cause more interest in street racing and over a large time period an increase in illegal activity.”
After surveying 180 male Christchurch drivers aged under 25 years, Dr Warn found that an interest in motorsport equated to more relaxed attitudes towards speeding and dangerous driving.
“Results indicated involvement with motor sports had a negative impact on driving behaviour as motor sport is linked with increased risk-taking on public roads,” he said.
“Dragway environments heighten the level of excitement and this can encourage sensation-seekers to duplicate risky racing behaviour on public streets. Flashing lights and the visibility of showing-off and manufactured noise-making events increase the enthusiasm shown for the event.”
Dr Warn said more research is needed to determine the factors that can shift involvement from illegal street racing to a legal venue. Once in a controlled environment, users can be educated about driver behaviour and road safety on public roads.
The results from the joint research with University of Canterbury lecturer Dr Kingham were presented by Dr Warn at a recent Australasian Transport Research Forum.
The research was not about Dragways = bad. They asked a bunch of questions - I don't know what they were - of 180 guys and the questions they asked revealed that for those 180, there was a correlation between "driving behaviour" and what would seem to be watching drag racing/motorsports.
The first line in the second quoted section makes it seem like they said that dragways lead to street racing but a (good) academic would never say that unless they did some sort of study where there was a way to compare street racing before and after a dragway. This research showed that people who went to the drags also were more likely to have a more "relaxed attitude towards speeding and dangerous driving".
In other words, bogans who go to the drags also don't mind speeding. (in the grand traditon of research: tell me something I didn't know).