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Survey Results: Cyclists’ Attitudes Towards Road Safety22nd April 2020 Personal Injury
Cyclists are one of the most vulnerable road user groups in the UK due to the fact they have significantly less protection than those in a car or larger vehicle. We decided to conduct a survey to find out what cyclists think about safety and other road users.
We surveyed more than 1,500 cyclists in the UK on their feelings about sharing the road with other vehicles, their safety, and their knowledge and opinion on current rules of the road. Here is what we discovered.
One-third of cyclists have been involved in a road traffic accident
The survey revealed that 15% of cyclists in the UK have been involved in an accident. Of these, 19% of incidents were blamed on cars or car drivers.
The latest data on reported casualties from the Department for Transport shows that 16,498 cyclists were involved in accidents in 2018. While this figure has been in steady decline since 2015, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured has risen over the same time period by 16%, from 3,047 in 2015 to 3,541 in 2018.
One-in-10 cyclists afraid to cycle on the road
Of the 1,500 cyclists who participated in the survey, 10% said they do not cycle on the road. This number rises to 16% amongst those aged over 45 years old, while it drops to 6% amongst those under 45.
When asked for their reasons why, most people described cycling on the road as ‘dangerous’, ‘risky’ and ‘not safe’, while others said they were ‘scared’ and ‘nervous’ about cars.
In addition, 44% said that more cycle lanes/paths would encourage them to cycle on the road. This was followed by improvements to road conditions, including more signage, lighting and smoother surfaces (19%) and drivers having more awareness about cyclists (16%).
Approach to cycling safety
Respondents were asked a number of questions in relation to safety, including:
- Do you wear a helmet?
- Do you wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing while cycling?
- Is your bike fitted with front and back reflectors/lights?
- Do you have a camera fitted on your bike/helmet?
- Have you ever attended a cycling safety training course?
All the above safety precautions are referred to in The Highway Code, meaning this is official advice to help keep cyclists safe while on the road.
In our survey, 88% of cyclists said they do wear a helmet, with this number increasing to 90% amongst those who ride on the road.
The survey also revealed that 75% of cyclists wear everyday clothes. In those aged under 45, this figure rises to 65%, while in those aged over 45, 82% said they wear everyday clothing.
Other findings included:
- 87% saying they have front and back reflectors/lights on their bike
- 12% of cyclists have a camera fitted on their bike/helmet - cycling cams can be useful for providing video evidence during accidents
- 33% of cyclists have attended cycling safety training
Vehicle drivers most likely to negatively affect a cyclist’s confidence
Survey respondents were asked to choose which factor most negatively affects their confidence when cycling on the road. The top five responses were:
- Vehicle drivers - 54%
- Potholes - 14%
- Icy or wet conditions - 11%
- Busy roads - 9%
- Lack of cycling lanes - 5%
When asked which road users positively affect their ability to cycle on the road, cyclists voted the top three as:
- Other cyclists (30%)
- Bus drivers (11%)
- Motorcyclists (10%)
The top three road user groups most likely to negatively affect a cyclist’s ability on the road were:
- Van drivers (86%)
- Car drivers (84%)
- Taxi drivers (76%)
Participants were also asked how often other road users negatively affected their ability to cycle on the road. Car drivers were voted the most likely to have a negative impact daily with 31% of the vote, followed by van drivers (28%) and taxi drivers (24%).
Some 59% of respondents voted other cyclists as never having a negative impact, with motorcyclists (49%) and pedestrians (48%) placing second and third.
Cyclists’ knowledge of rules of the road
We asked cyclists questions in relation to rules that are included in The Highway Code and must be followed. When asked if cyclists are allowed to ride on the pavement, 77% answered correctly (Rule 64 of The Highway Code), while 17% said it was allowed and 6% said they did not know.
When asked whether cyclists could ride two abreast, 73% of cyclists answered correctly by saying it was allowed (Rule 66 of The Highway Code), while 20% answered incorrectly and 7% said they did not know.
The full survey data
Do you ride your bicycle on the road?
Why do you not cycle on the road?
What would need to change to encourage you to cycle on the road?
Do you wear a helmet?
Do you wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing while cycling?
Is your bike fitted with front and back reflectors/lights?
Do you have a camera fitted to your bike/helmet?
Have you ever attended a cycling safety training course?
Have you ever had an accident on the road while on your bike?
Can you provide details on the accident, including who caused it?
What is the one factor that MOST NEGATIVELY affects your confidence when cycling on the road?
|Icy or wet conditions||11.48%||118|
|Unclear road markings||0.49%||5|
|Use of trams on the roads||0.00%||0|
|Lack of cycling lanes||4.57%||47|
|Other (please specify)||1.17%||12|
How do the following road users affect your ability to cycle on the road:
How often do the following road users affect your ability to cycle on the road:
|Daily||Every few days||Weekly||Fortnightly||Every few months||Never|
Are you allowed to cycle on the pavement?
Can cyclists ride two abreast (side by side)?
Can cyclists carry a passenger?
|Yes, only on a purpose-built bike||62.45%||642|
Do you think cyclists should be tested and given a licence like other road users?