Survey Results: Cyclists’ Attitudes Towards Road Safety

22nd 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? 

Do you ride your bicycle on the road.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes90.18%1331
No9.82%145

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 a helmet.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes88.08%1263
No11.92%171

Do you wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing while cycling?

Do you wear light-coloured or fluorescent clothing while cycling.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes75.45%1082
No24.55%352

Is your bike fitted with front and back reflectors/lights?

Is your bike fitted with front and back reflectors lights.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes86.89%1246
No13.11%188

Do you have a camera fitted to your bike/helmet?

Do you have a camera fitted on your bike helmet.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes11.51%165
No88.49%1269

Have you ever attended a cycling safety training course?

Have you ever attended a cycling safety traning course.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes33.33%478
No66.67%956

Have you ever had an accident on the road while on your bike?

Have you ever had an accident on the road while on your bike.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes35.43%508
No64.57%926

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?

What is the one factor that MOST NEGATIVELY affects your confidence when cycling on the road.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Pedestrians1.36%14
Other cyclists0.88%9
Motorcyclists2.33%24
Vehicle drivers54.47%560
Icy or wet conditions11.48%118
Bus lanes0.10%1
Potholes13.72%141
Unclear road markings0.49%5
Use of trams on the roads0.00%0
Lack of cycling lanes4.57%47
Busy roads9.44%97
Other (please specify)1.17%12

How do the following road users affect your ability to cycle on the road:

How do the following road users affect your ability to cycle on the road.jpg

NegativelyPositivelyNo effect
Pedestrians20.04%3.89%76.07%
Other cyclists8.17%30.25%61.58%
Motorcyclists24.51%10.21%65.27%
Car drivers83.56%3.50%12.94%
Van drivers86.09%3.11%10.80%
Truck drivers71.60%7.59%20.82%
Taxi drivers75.88%4.57%19.55%
Bus drivers57.30%10.51%32.20%

How often do the following road users affect your ability to cycle on the road:

How often do the following users negatively affect your ability to cycle on the road.jpg

DailyEvery few daysWeeklyFortnightlyEvery few monthsNever
Pedestrians5.84%6.03%7.30%4.28%27.92%48.64%
Other cyclists3.02%3.50%4.86%3.40%26.07%59.14%
Motorcyclists5.35%5.54%8.85%6.91%28.40%44.94%
Car drivers31.23%20.04%17.80%5.64%17.51%7.78%
Van drivers27.82%20.82%17.22%7.59%18.77%7.78%
Truck drivers18.68%16.93%16.15%7.98%26.26%14.01%
Taxi drivers23.83%16.25%15.08%8.17%22.47%14.20%
Bus drivers16.63%10.99%12.74%7.68%28.02%23.93%

Are you allowed to cycle on the pavement?

Are you allowed to cycle on the pavement.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes17.22%177
No76.95%791
Don't know5.84%60

Can cyclists ride two abreast (side by side)?

Can cyclists ride two abreast (side by side).jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes73.35%754
No19.94%205
Don't know6.71%69

Can cyclists carry a passenger?

Can cyclists carry a passenger.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes3.50%36
Yes, only on a purpose-built bike62.45%642
No26.46%272
Don't know7.59%78

Do you think cyclists should be tested and given a licence like other road users?

Do you think cyclists should be tested and given a licence like other road users.jpg

Answer ChoicesResponses 
Yes31.32%322
No57.88%595
Don't know10.80%111

Endorsed by

We're Social

Nadia Kerr is a Partner located in Manchesterin our Bicycle AccidentsPersonal Injury departments

View other posts by Nadia Kerr

Let us contact you

*
*
*
*
*

COVID-19 Update - Our website and phone lines are operating as normal and our teams are on hand to deal with all enquiries. Meetings can be conducted via telephone and video conferencing.

View our Privacy Policy