Drivers feel disinclined to share the roads with cyclists, and vice versa, according to a report recently published by the DfT (Telegraph).
The Telegraph article says that the report concludes: “Evidence suggests a failure in the culture of road sharing, with a lack of consensus about whether and how, cyclists belong on our roads.”
Cyclists who also drove, however, displayed greater empathy towards motorists, and the same applied to drivers who occasionally took to two wheels. The study also found that motorists were impatient with cyclists, especially when they were feeling stressed for other reasons. Some drivers were found to bitterly resent the very presence of cyclists on the road at all.
The research, ‘Cycling, Safety and Sharing the Road’, described the perceived stereotype of a cyclist as: “A kind of lawless freerider in the highly constrained and heavily taxed world of the driver."
Robert Gifford, executive director of the PACTS, said: “This research clearly poses a challenge. No single group of road users is entirely self-contained.
“During any one week, we will all be pedestrians; most of us will drive a car; some of us will make a journey by bike. We therefore need to develop a more inclusive approach to our fellow road users, seeing ourselves in their shoes as well as our own."
Mike Cavenett, spokesman for the London Cycling Campaign, suggested segregation as a solution. He said: “When there are high volumes of traffic, driving at high speed, it has to be separated from cyclists.
“The only way we will get the sort of numbers of cyclists you see in Holland, with grandmothers and families on bikes, is when there is a sensation of safety.”
A DfT spokesman added: “Cyclists and motorists have an equal right to use the roads and it is vital for the safety of everyone that they are considerate to each other and obey the rules of the road.”