What Do Cyclists Think of Other Road Users?

22nd June 2020 Personal Injury

Cyclists represent a small percentage of road users, yet are considered to be one of the most vulnerable due to their lack of physical protection. In 2018, 99 cyclists died on Britain’s road, while 3,707 were seriously injured and 13,744 slightly injured in accidents, according to data published by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Is there a hierarchy amongst road users?

In a 2002 study conducted by the DfT, drivers were asked to consider whether they believed a hierarchy existed amongst the different types of road users. The responses given indicated that one did exist based on the size of a vehicle, i.e. the larger the vehicle, the more respect received from other road users. Although, respondents considered motorcycles as an exception to this rule due to their speed and manoeuvrability compensating for their lack of size.

Most significantly, respondents had to be prompted to consider cyclists when discussing other road users, suggesting they were dismissing cycling as a genuine form of transport.

What are motorists’ impressions of cyclists?

The DfT also asked drivers to share their impressions/associations on cyclists, finding that they were predominantly negative:

PositivesNegatives
Healthy - in terms of personal and environmental benefitsVulnerable - perceived greater potential for involvement and then injury or death from traffic accidents
Brave - cycling in motorised traffic despite their lack of any real protectionIrresponsible - due to an absence of training or formal commitment to lawful behaviour
 Despised - cycling should be provided for through separate facilities and not allowed on the roads
 Dangerous - cyclists pose risks to themselves and other road users
 Erratic/Unpredictable - for example, weaving in and out of traffic, not signalling intentions, etc.
 Arrogant - it was felt that cyclists seemed to believe they were invincible or that other roads users were responsible for their safety
 Inconvenient - basic characteristics of cycling were perceived as fundamentally different and delaying to motorised road use

Respondents were also asked to describe sketches of different types of cyclists, including what sort of behaviour they would expect from each type of cyclist. The pictures shown to respondents included:

  • A family cycling where each member of the family wore a helmet
  • A girl on a bicycle with a helmet on
  • A young man on a cycle without a helmet on
  • An older woman on a cycle with a pet riding in the cycle’s front basket, the woman was not wearing a helmet
  • A pack of professional-looking cyclists, all with helmets on
  • A young boy riding a BMX cycle on one wheel whilst wearing no helmet

From the group’s responses, it was identified that motorists considered how cyclists looked to affect the way they believe the cyclist would behave. Those wearing helmets were generally considered to be more serious and sensible on the road than those without; however, there was one exception - the pack of professional cyclists. This was due to the erratic behaviour of the group outweighing the positive associations of wearing a cycling helmet.

In general, respondents felt that people who had specialist cycling equipment and clothing were more likely to also have the experience required to employ correct cycling behaviour. However, a minority of participants felt that cyclists wearing helmets might be more timid and cautious than those without, wearing a helmet out of fear rather than as a sensible precaution.

What do cyclists think about other road users?

With cycling seemingly overlooked by other road users, we wanted to find out what cyclists thought of pedestrians and vehicle drivers. JMW Solicitors surveyed more than 1,500 cyclists in the UK on their feelings about sharing the road with other vehicles, including what they thought about them. The survey revealed that 58% of cyclists regarded other road users (i.e. vehicle drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians) as having the most negative impact on their confidence when cycling on the road.

Furthermore, one-third (15%) of our survey respondents have been involved in an accident, with 19% of incidents being blamed on cars or car drivers.

With this in mind, we asked participants to describe other road users in just one word - here are the results:

Bus drivers

Cycling Word Cloud - Bus Drivers.png

The top 10 most used words to describe bus drivers:

PositiveNegative
OKImpatient
ConsiderateDangerous
CarefulScary
ProfessionalBig
Good 
Fine

Taxi drivers

Cycling_Word_Cloud_-_taxi drivers 2.png

The top 10 most used words to describe taxi drivers:

PositiveNegative
OKDangerous
 Impatient
 Inconsiderate
 Arrogant
 Careless
 Ignorant
 Aggressive
 Rushing
 Rude

Truck drivers

Cycling_Word_Cloud_-_Truck_Drivers 2.png

The top 10 most used words to describe truck drivers:

PositiveNegative
OKDangerous
ProfessionalScary
CarefulBig
 Unaware
 Impatient
 Inconsiderate
 Ignorant

Van drivers

Cycling_Word_Cloud_-_Van_Drivers 2.png

The top 10 most used words to describe van drivers:

PositiveNegative
OKDangerous
 Impatient
 Aggressive
 Ignorant
 Arrogant
 Rushing
 Careless
 Scary

Car drivers

Cycling_Word_Cloud_-_Car_Drivers 2.png

The top 10 most used words to describe car drivers:

PositiveNegative
OKImpatient
 Dangerous
 Ignorant
 Inconsiderate
 Selfish
 Unaware
 Arrogant
 Aggressive

Motorcyclists

Cycling Word Cloud - Motorcyclists.png

The top 10 most used words to describe motorcyclists:

PositiveNegative
OKFast
AwareDangerous
FineNoisy
GoodVulnerable
Careful 
Considerate

Other cyclists

Cycling Word Cloud - Other Cyclists.png

The top 10 most used words to describe other cyclists:

PositiveNegative
OKVulnerable
Friendly 
Fine 
Good 
Aware 
Considerate 
Friends 
Safe 
Careful

Pedestrians

Cycling Word Cloud - Pedestrians.png

The top 10 most used words to describe pedestrians:

PositiveNegative
OKUnaware
FineOblivious
SafeDistracted
 Slow
 Careless
 Blind
 Vulnerable

Endorsed by

We're Social

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