It might come as a surprise, but the majority of Britain’s motorists are quite supportive cyclists on the roads. Indeed, a good number blame other drivers for the frustrations of using the UK’s roads, rather than cyclists and other ‘obstacles’ such as speed cameras and public transportation.
The results come from a ‘Motorists versus cyclists’ survey of just over 2,000 people conducted by leading insurance broker Policy Expert.
Greater numbers commute and cycle for fun
In recent years, cycling has grown hugely in popularity, partly aided by the sporting success of Olympic stars such as Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins.
And greater numbers are now peddling to and from work in urban areas. Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that over the last 10 years commuting by bike in cities has grown enormously; in London it’s up 144%, and by 80% or more in provincial capitals such as Bristol, Manchester and Newcastle.
However, with increasing bicycle usage, and the inevitable rising number of accidents involving bikes, tensions between cyclists and drivers had grown.
But many car owners are also cyclists, and the Policy Expert survey suggests that the general consensus might now be turning in favour of cyclists, with cycling being finally seen as part of the solution and motoring a continuing part of the problem.
Majority of motorists in favour of cyclists on the roads
Policy Expert’s survey shows that of those respondents who class themselves as ‘motorists’, 61% think cyclists are totally harmless as well as useful in helping to keep traffic levels down, and, far from being the scourge of the roads, wish there were more of them!
But there’s still a large minority of drivers, 21%, who consider cyclists to be dangerous both to motorists and themselves, while 8.5% class them as an annoyance.
Cyclists say they’re useful for motorists and are saving the planet
As you’d expect, those describing themselves as ‘cyclists’ are vastly more positive towards their chosen mode of transport; when asked to choose which description fits best, 53% say cyclists are both harmless and useful, and some 32% say they’re helping to save the planet and that there should be many more of them.
However, 8% concur with motorists in believing those that peddle on the roads are dangerous to drivers and themselves.
Drivers harder on themselves than cyclists
The survey also shows motorists now think they’re worse than cyclists. When asked directly if, in fact, cyclists aren’t the problem and that it’s drivers ‘who should be more considerate’, 39% of motorists either agree or strongly agree, with 36% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. A minority, 26%, either disagree or strongly disagree.
Of the cyclists, 56% agree or strongly agree, while 35% remain neutral and only 9% disagree or strongly disagree.
Most frustrating things about the UK’s roads
Cyclists and motorists are largely united in their belief that the most frustrating thing about using Britain’s roads is the behaviour of motorists. In fact, slightly more drivers believe this to be true, at 40%, than cyclists, at 39%.
The next greatest frustration for both sets of road users is the level of traffic, at 33% for cyclists and 28.5% among drivers.
In a sign that people are perhaps becoming more accepting of the need to reduce vehicle speed, speed cameras and speed limits are low on the road-use ‘frustration’ scale, at 7% and 2.5 % respectively for motorists.
Somewhat surprisingly, given the unlikelihood of being fined for speeding while pedalling, cyclists aren’t far off, at just under 6% and 2% for each respectively.
Again, it would appear that the behaviour of cyclists isn’t seen as too much of a problem anymore; it’s cited as a ‘frustration’ by only 9% of motorists and 3% of cyclists.
Desire for traffic-free centres, and a thumbs-down for HS2
Motorists and cyclists have a shared vision of town and city centres being traffic-free, pedestrianized havens, with 50% of drivers and 65% of cyclists believing cars should be banned from them.
Regarding the Government’s plan, HS2, to spend billions on a new fast rail-link between London and the North, those who described themselves as ‘public transport users’ mainly think it’s a waste of money. Only 17% say it should go ahead, while 63% believe the cash would be better spent on improving the existing rail network. Only 4% feel HS2 would be of benefit to the UK economy.
Policy Expert has a real passion for making sure people get the cover that’s right for them. We’re driven by a desire to help you find not only the best value insurance, but the right insurance for your individual needs. For more information on what‘s covered under your Car Insurance policy, speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 602 or email firstname.lastname@example.org