The research, taken from a survey of over 1,000 drivers commissioned by Brake and Direct Line and launched during Bike Week (8-16 June), found 4 in 10 think there has been an increase in dangerous or aggressive driving around cyclists over the past five years with just 1 in 10 believing there has been a decrease in this behaviour [1].

The latest Government statistics show that 101 cyclists were killed and 3,698 seriously injured on British roads in 2017, an average of more than ten cyclist deaths and serious injuries a day [2].

Cyclists are among the most vulnerable road users as they don’t have the protection afforded to a car occupant in the event of a crash. This fact is starkly illustrated in the Government’s statistics, with cyclists 46 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured, per mile travelled, in comparison to car drivers on British roads [3].

In light of their findings, road safety charity Brake is calling for more to be done to enable people to move around in safe and healthy ways, such as travelling by bike.

They want to see safer default speed limits on rural and urban roads, greater investment in segregated cycle lanes and a justice system which keeps dangerous drivers off the roads.

The charity believes this such measures can help improve safety and get more people cycling, with the findings of the recent National Travel Attitudes Survey, conducted by the Department for Transport, highlighting that the majority of people (6 in 10) believe that it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads [4].

Brake also believe that drivers themselves have a role to play in keeping people cycling safe. They are reiterating their ‘Bike Smart’ message, from 2018 Road Safety Week, encouraging drivers to: slow down, giving more time to spot danger and react; look properly for bikes before pulling out at junctions; leave at least 150cm between cars and a bike when overtaking; and do the ‘Dutch reach’, using the opposite hand to open a car door to help avoid ‘car dooring’ incidents.

Commenting, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said: "Cycling is one of the healthiest and cheapest ways to get around and everyone should be able to cycle every day without fear for their own safety. Yet our research has found that even drivers think dangerous driving around cyclists has increased in recent years, and with 10 people cycling being killed or seriously injured every day, more is clearly needed to be done to keep those on two wheels safe. Whilst the Government’s actions to encourage more people to cycle and keep them safe are welcome, they must go further. We need slower, safer speed limits, greater investment in segregated cycle lanes and drivers who do behave dangerously removed from our roads.

“Drivers themselves also have a role to play in keeping people cycling safe – with our research showing that they acknowledge the dangers they can pose to cyclists. By following our bike smart message and looking out for their fellow road users, we can all help make our roads a better place for everyone and enable people to move around in safe and healthy ways every day.”

Steve Barrett, head of Direct Line Car Insurance, said: “As cycling continues to grow in popularity, it is worrying that drivers believe dangerous driving around cyclists is on the increase. It is essential that drivers ensure they are not a danger to other road users. Cyclists have as much right as any other road user to travel without fear.”

Notes to Editors:

[1] 1,037 drivers were surveyed by independent research company, Surveygoo, on behalf of Brake and Direct Line. They were asked: over the past five years, do you think you have seen an increase or a decrease in the numbers of dangerous or aggressive driving around cyclists.


Agree 40%

Remained about the same 45%

Disagree 8%

Don’t Know 8%

[2] RAS30001: Reported road casualties by road user type and severity: Great Britain, DfT, 2018. To note, changes to serious injury reporting prevent fair comparison with previous years’ totals.

[3] Reported casualty rates by road user type and severity: Great Britain, RAS30013 [4] NTAS0101: "It is too dangerous for me to cycle on the roads", DfT, 2019