Two thirds of drivers say aggressive cyclists are a threat to safety

Two thirds of drivers say aggressive cyclists are a threat to their safety with 60% believing they are a bigger problem now than three years ago, poll reveals

  • Between 2012 and 2021 four car users were killed in crashes involving a bike 
  • During the same time period, 494 cyclists have been killed in such incidents 

Almost two-thirds of drivers believe aggressive cyclists threaten their safety, a new survey has suggested.   

In a poll of 2,010 UK motorists, 60 per cent also believed aggressive cyclists are a bigger threat than three years ago.

The IAM RoadSmart data comes after 494 cyclists were killed in crashes with cars on Britain’s roads from 2012 to 2021.

By comparison, four car occupants have died in such incidents over the same time period, according to the Department for Transport figures. 

However, 61 per cent of respondents would not support a law assuming drivers are always responsible for collisions with cyclists or pedestrians in urban areas. 

Almost two-thirds of drivers believe aggressive cyclists threaten their personal safety

The director of policy and research at the IAM RoadSmart charity stressed there was ‘no quick-fix’ to the ‘daily conflicts’ between motorists and cyclists. 

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 last year allowing Britain’s judges to hand life sentences to dangerous 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 respondents to the IAM RoadSmart survey said people driving motor vehicles aggressively put their safety at risk.

Aggressive driving was a contributing factor to 108 crash deaths in 2021, equivalent to eight per cent of all road deaths.

Grant Shapps (pictured) pledged to create a ‘death by dangerous cycling’ law last year

Duncan Dollimore, head 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.’

Amendments to the Highway Code included the creation of a road user hierarchy based on vulnerability.

It means that drivers have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse.

Motorists were also told to leave at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at up to 30mph and leave more space at higher speeds.

Mr Dollimore added: ‘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.’

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