Cyclists’ aggressive behavior a growing concern for UK drivers, survey shows

According to a recent survey, nearly two thirds of drivers feel that aggressive cyclists endanger their safety.

In a survey of 2,010 UK drivers, 60 per cent said aggressive cyclists pose a greater concern today than they did three years ago.

The IAM RoadSmart data comes after 494 cyclists died on British roads in car-cyclist collisions between 2012 and 2021.

Comparatively, four people who were inside cars died in similar accidents over the same time period, according to data from the Department of Transportation.

However, 61 per cent of respondents said they would not support a legislation that assumes drivers are always to blame for crashes with pedestrians or cyclists in populated areas.

The IAM RoadSmart charity’s director of strategy and research emphasized that 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.”

After the implementation of new regulations last year, British judges are now able to impose life terms on reckless and dangerous drivers who cause fatalities while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Two months later, the then-transport secretary Grant Shapps made a commitment to enact a law against “death by dangerous cycling” that would penalize murderous riders similarly to negligent drivers.

The IAM RoadSmart poll found that nearly four out of five respondents believed that aggressive driving endangered their safety.

Eight percent of all traffic fatalities—108 collision deaths—were caused by aggressive driving in 2021.

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.”

The Highway Code was changed to reflect a hierarchy of road users based on their level of vulnerability.

It means that motorists are more accountable for keeping an eye out for individuals on bicycles, on foot, or on horses.

Also, drivers were advised to give cyclists at least 1.5 meters of distance while passing them at up to 30 mph, and more room 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.”

5 thoughts on “Cyclists’ aggressive behavior a growing concern for UK drivers, survey shows”

  1. how come car drivers have to give 1.5 meters clearance for bicycles but bicycles can squeeze past cars scratching them and get away with it

  2. Do the powers that be honestly believe that qualified drivers all keep up to date with the Highway Code after passing their tests?? The only way to keep licensed drivers up to date is to implement regular standards checks for all drivers. That way the onus is on the driver to ensure both knowledge and practical skills are kept to an acceptable level. At the moment it’s a free for all out there.

  3. Helen Watkinson

    Today in a driving lesson. We had a cyclist undertake us in a 20mph. He did not care to allow a learner driver to understand where they were and therefore put themselves in danger. They definitely did not give any amount of distance between my school car and his cycle. If my window had been open I could have easily touched him. More frustrating was that there was a perfectly, brand new, cycle lane where me would have been segregated from cars for his safety. He chose not to use it. Then jumped a red traffic light

  4. Tim H - Retired ADI

    A large number of cyclists appear to think that Red Traffic Lights do not apply to them and ride straight through at junctions. They then wonder why motorists “honk” at them as they cross the motorists’ path.
    Light controlled pedestrian crossings are a “favourite” for cyclists to ignore the red light. The worst offenders being delivery riders and especially those with “Deliveroo” bags on their backs.
    I do think car/van/lorry/bus/whatever drivers should look out for cyclists…..but when the attitude of cyclists seems to be “I can do what I want because the driver will always get the blame” – That is wrong.
    If it can be proven that a cyclist has caused an accident, then the law should come down on them as hard as it would a car, etc. driver.

  5. Policing Through

    Cyclists will always come off worse in a collision with a vehicle. Fact. Therefore, the message to cyclists has to be that they are incredibly vulnerable and must therefore ride defensively. This means being aware of commercial vehicle blind spot, visibility and manoeuvering without looking or signalling. It also means obeying traffic laws such as stopping at pedestrian crossings and red lights. It also means not riding down pavements. At night, make sure the bike has proper lights and that they work. I have lost count of the times I have seen bikes on dark roads at the very last minute.

    Drivers too need to be aware of cyclists’ needs and frailties and give them plenty of space when over taking, not following too closely and giving way in narrower streets. Today there are gales along the south of England and cyclists are even more vulnerable. The shocking state of the roads is yet more hazard as the poor cyclists must dodge potholes and sunken drains and man hole covers.

    The current changers to the Highway Code are completely insane. Cyclists are always calling for more cycle lanes and then do not use them. The law should be changed to read that if a cycle lane is available, it must be used. Where there are lanes on each side of the road, riding into the traffic must be an offence. We are told that they can now officially do what they like and it is always our fault. Much the same appears to apply to pedestrians who now appear to have carte blanche to wander across the road with their noses in their phones.

    The bottom line is this. I might end up in jail for a while, but you will have the life sentence in a wheelchair. Now tell me who has come out on top of this argument. Yes, you were in the right, but your life has completely changed forever. All in all, not a good trade.

    E scooters are pretty much all illegal. Even the council ones, unless ridden by someone with a full motorcycle licence. Everybody else with a provisional licence should have L plates and have completed the CBT. I registered with my local council and all the information required was the front of the licence, so the rental company had no idea if I was legal or not.

    As for the unregistered scooters, they are flat out illegal yet the police do nothing about them. They should all be impounded and destroyed, not least because many are very real fire risks. The New York fire brigade claimed that over 300 house fires last year were caused by these infernal machines overcharging and catching fire.

    Some illegal scooters are capable of up to 50 mph, which is an insane speed on wheels the size of doughnuts. Hit any sort of hole and the rider is airborne. Doubtless they all have CE marks. How difficult is it to create a CE or even BS kitemark sticker? The Chinese have no respect for anybody else’s rules and will think nothing of selling shoddy goods nice and cheap. The same applies to the modern e bike. The old sit up and beg style cycles were fine and really did not cause too much trouble. The modern ones are capable of ferocious acceleration and high speeds and some of the kids riding them imagine that the traffic is some sort of computer game.

    Let us be very clear. A motorbike is a two wheeled vehicle propelled by a motor. What fuels that motor is irrelevant.

    I have no problem with the police cracking down on thoughtless drivers with regard to cyclists, but if the police is to be respected, then other illegal road users must be cracked down on too. This is currently not the case, which is why the police is gradually losing the respect and support of the law abiding majority.

    Both sets of road users must acknowledge that they can do better. Drivers are disinclined to do so because they see the endless flouting of the rules by cyclists while cyclists have never cared about anybody else but themselves. Now they are even more virtuous because they are saving the planet. They are not because the planet is not at risk, but they do not worry about facts.

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