Majority of drivers say aggressive cyclists threaten their safety – poll
Almost two-thirds (65%) of drivers believe aggressive cyclists are a threat to their safety, a new survey suggests.
The poll of 2,010 UK motorists, commissioned by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, also indicated that 60% believe aggressive cyclists are a bigger problem compared with three years ago.
A similar proportion of respondents (61%) said they would not support a law assuming drivers are always responsible for collisions with cyclists or pedestrians in urban areas.
Department for Transport (DfT) figures show four car occupants were killed in crashes involving a bicycle and a car on Britain’s roads between 2012 and 2021.
That is compared with 494 fatalities of cyclists in such incidents over the same period.
IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research Neil Greig said: “The Government has introduced a range of laws in recent years in an effort to fix the daily conflicts we see between motorists and cyclists.
“However, if our research is anything to go by, this has largely been to no avail, with the majority of respondents still reporting aggression and conflict among road users.
“There is no quick-fix to this issue, but our research sheds light on the urgent need for the Government to maintain its education campaigns on the new Highway Code, and continue to invest in safe road markings for more vulnerable road users to minimise the chance of conflict wherever possible.
“In the meantime, all road users, whether on two or four wheels, should exercise calmness and restraint to help us all use Britain’s roads safely.”
New rules came into force in June 2022 meaning judges in Britain can hand down life sentences to dangerous drivers who kill and careless drivers who kill while under the influence of drink or drugs.
Two months later, then-transport secretary Grant Shapps pledged to create a “death by dangerous cycling” law that would treat killer cyclists the same as motorists.
Nearly four out of five (78%) respondents to the IAM RoadSmart survey said people driving motor vehicles aggressively are putting their safety at risk.
Some 108 people were killed in 2021 in crashes where aggressive driving was a contributory factor, equivalent to 8% of all road deaths.
Duncan Dollimore, heading of campaigns at charity Cycling, said: “There’s no excuse for aggressive behaviour – people can behave badly no matter what mode of transport they’re using.
“The consequences are however disproportionate, with statistics showing poor driving far more likely to lead to a fatality or serious injury.
“The Highway Code changed last year to emphasise the additional responsibility those in charge of larger vehicles, because they were more likely to cause harm if there is a collision.
“Cycling UK has repeatedly called for a long-term well-funded public awareness campaign by the Government to ensure that the changes are better communicated and understood, which in turn will make our roads safer for everyone.”
The amendments to the Highway Code included the creation of a hierarchy of road users based on vulnerability.
It means someone driving has more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse.
Another change involved motorists being told they should leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at up to 30mph, and leave more space at higher speeds.
– The survey for IAM RoadSmart was conducted by research company Cint in December 2022.