Litter, caravans and groups of cyclists top AA’s ‘summer bugbears’ poll

12.00 | 29 July 2014 | | 4 comments

‘Litter bugs’ who throw rubbish out of their car are the biggest summer annoyance to other drivers, according to an AA poll of more than 23,000 drivers.

34% of drivers said this anti-social group topped the list of things that annoy them most about other road users in the summer. This fell to 19% of young drivers and rose to 37% in the 45-54 years age group.

Slow-moving caravans (15%) came second with ‘groups of cyclists’ (13%) the third thing which annoyed them most about other road users in the summer.

With regard to cyclists, there was significant regional variation. The figure fell to 10% in the east of England, and rose to 16% and 18% in south east England and Northern Ireland respectively.

The AA points out that Highway Code says drivers are required to leave ‘at least as much room’ as they would when overtaking a car, while cyclists are not supposed to ride more then two abreast and stay in single file on narrow or busy roads, and bends.

Carlton Reid, executive editor of BikeBiz, explained to the AA why cyclists sometimes block the road: "Club cyclists, who often ride in packs, will ride two abreast to chat, and will thin out when necessary, but two riders will often ‘take primary position’ before bends. It should be reasonably obvious why.

“Far too many motorists take bends, even blind ones, fast, and cyclists do not want to be squished when an overtaking driver realises they’ve overcooked the corner and has to dive back in to avoid a head-on smash. Cyclists often ‘block the road’ in order to save their lives, and possibly yours, too.”

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Litter bugs have understandably emerged as the clear ‘winner’ in our summer selection of driving irritants.

“Previous AA-Populus research showed that many drivers would support tough penalties, such as points on their driving licence, large fines and community sentences for littering drivers.

“It is interesting that some motorists find anything that slows them down an irritant whether slow caravans or groups of cyclists.

“All road users need to show consideration for fellow road users whether on two wheels, four wheels, six wheels or even horse legs. Common courtesy and consideration on both sides can improve road safety and reduce road rage this summer.”


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    I am a caravanner and one day heading up to the Scottish borders, a tractor was in front of me for 4 miles. No pulling over, so when he turned off, I pulled over in nearest lay by cos traffic was really built up. Every car was honking at me when they past, cos they had no idea it wasn’t me, it was the tractor in front. That’s why us caravanners get called, and the trucks on motorways who decide to overtake on gradients and they’re in middle lane for about 5 minutes. As for litter louts, they are all over the place. They make me sick.

    paul dickinson
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    Possibly…but on the roads it is more likely to end in tears.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    This is true but we could replace “some motorists …” with “most people in every aspect of life …”. It’s a natural human desire to accomplish our goals and such a useful one that society depends upon it. I am concerned at yet another story that seems to be attempting to drive a wedge between different road-user groups, rather than fostering co-operation.

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    “It is interesting that some motorists find anything that slows them down an irritant whether slow caravans or groups of cyclists.” A widespread attitude of mind these days, wherever one may be unfortunately. There’s a virtue in respectful driving.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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