They may not always see eye to eye, but motorists and cyclists both have rights on the road. Each has a right to safe and enjoyable travel, and a responsibility to understand and respond to the other's needs. This is hugely important given the vulnerability of cyclists in collisions with cars.
Motorists and cyclists both have rights on the road
According to the Ministry of Transport, cyclists had primary responsibility in only 23% of cyclist-vehicle crashes in which they were injured or killed during 2007-2011.
Most casualties take place on urban roads. However, over half of the deaths involving cyclists happen on the open road due to the higher impact speeds.
Did you know?
Cyclists had primary responsibility in only 23% of all cyclist-vehicle crashes in which they were injured or killed (2007-2011).
Many crashes take place at intersections. As cyclists are less visible, the driver often looks past them and doesn't register that they are there. Other crashes occur as a result of motorists not allowing cyclists enough space when passing.
AA speaking up for motorists
Mutual courtesy and care
Many motorists are also cyclists, and they understand better than most the need for care and courtesy around cyclists.
Motorists and cyclists need to be more aware of each other and act with mutual courtesy and care. Cyclists should try and avoid holding up motorists by riding abreast on narrow lanes, while motorists should be prepared to pull in behind cyclists just as they would any other vehicle and pass only when there is sufficient safety margin.
Often drivers simply don't see cyclists. Cyclists best reduce their chances of being overlooked by wearing bright colours during the day and using plenty of reflectorised clothing and lights at night. Drivers should check for cyclists - especially before opening doors.
Build smart cycling routes - not just cycle lanes
In many places around the world cyclists are faced with a lack of clear planning for cycling. Many cycle-lanes are no more than tack-ons for existing roading projects which begin and end as if cyclists could appear and disappear at will.
Cycle facilities are often not maintained as well as roads.
Cycling facilities are best removed from motorised traffic altogether with sensible end-to-end routes, eg. through parks. Where that isn't possible, drivers should be alerted to routes that are frequently used by cyclists, especially where this isn't obvious. Cyclists are especially vulnerable turning across through-traffic and planners should provide alternative routes at roundabouts.
When roads are under repair crews should be aware of the vulnerability of cyclists and ensure they are not forced into fast moving traffic streams.
Know the Road Code
Motorists and cyclists need to be familiar with the Road Code, which has specific safety requirements to protect cyclists.