Motorists and cyclists

Motorists and cyclists

Recently Olympic winner Laura Trott attacked rogue cyclists, while on the other hand the government has launched a sentencing review into dangerous drivers who maim cyclists.

Our research found that the public broadly thinks that punishment for both driving and cycling recklessly is too lenient. However, more thought the present laws for dangerous cycling were too lenient (53%) compared to that for dangerous driving (44%).

Despite more people thinking that the law does not adequately deal with dangerous cyclists on the roads, it appears that the government has got its main aim right. Two in five (41%) think the government is right in giving priority to a sentencing review for dangerous drivers instead of cyclists. Whilst just over a quarter (27%) believe it is a sentencing review for cyclists which ought to be prioritised. This slight difference can perhaps be explained by the lower profile of laws which tackle any ?rogue cyclists? that are out there, while the damage that is actually done by motorists in collisions is far worse.

This is apparent when presented with a hypothetical collision between a motorist and a cyclist, 24% of all UK adults would have presumed that the motorist was at fault, compared to 13% who would presume the cyclist was to blame.

Cyclists are not necessarily let off the hook, though. In London the public is far more divided over the focus of the government?s sentencing review than the rest of the country – a third (35%) of all Londoners would prefer the government to prioritise a review for dangerous cyclist whilst the UK average is at 27% agreement. This difference with the rest of the country is probably down to the urban nature of London, where commuters in cars are finding it harder to live side by side with those travelling by bike.

Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 2,002 UK adults. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria. The research was conducted from 30th August to 2nd September 2013.