A new ‘social study’ suggests that 20% of cyclists and drivers fear for their own safety while using UK roads.
The study, described as the first of its kind, was carried out by cycling insurer Cycleplan who analysed more than half a million social media posts – from both cyclists and drivers – between January 2016 and July 2017.
The primary aim of the study was to provide an insight into the emotional state of road users.
‘Anger towards one and other’ was found to be the top emotion, experienced by 53% of road users – while just 11% feel ‘joy’ while either driving or riding.
In terms of location, ‘fear’ was most prevalent in Greater London (25%), while feelings of ‘joy’ peaked among road users in east Wales (33%).
The study also set out to identify what drivers and cyclists considered to be the other’s worst road behaviours.
Among cyclists, speeding drivers were mentioned in 51,146 posts, followed by ‘bad drivers’ in 47,262 posts. Driving too close was fifth on the list, mentioned in 20,759 posts.
According to drivers, cyclists not wearing high visibility gear is the biggest issue, with 44,115 posts detected. Second on the list was cyclists wearing headphones while riding (42,287 posts) – while undertaking/overtaking on the wrong side of the road received the fourth-most posts (23,801).
Lizzie Deignan, Olympic cyclist and Cycleplan ambassador, said: “To make the roads a better and safer place for cyclists and drivers alike, we need to remove the blame by each side.
“The more understanding we all have in sharing the road, the less stressful travelling on them will be.
“As a driver and a cyclist, it’s equally important that when I’m riding my bike or driving my car, I’m adhering to the Highway Code because it’s not just about my safety, it’s about everybody else’s safety.
“You have an equal responsibility whether you’re driving or cycling – it’s about mutual respect.”
Nearly three quarters (76%) of the social media posts in the survey were uploaded by a male respondent, while nine out of 10 (90%) were from persons aged 35 years and above.