Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

DRIVERS SEEING BOTH SIDES; as a New Survey Reveals Common Safety Beliefs between Cyclists and Drivers, David Williams Explains Why the Camps Are So Close

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

DRIVERS SEEING BOTH SIDES; as a New Survey Reveals Common Safety Beliefs between Cyclists and Drivers, David Williams Explains Why the Camps Are So Close

Article excerpt

Byline: David Williams

IT was heartening to see the findings of the Institute of Advanced Motorists' survey on that most contentious of subjects in London... cycling.

Its poll of some 6,000 members -- and of a similar number of non-members -- shows that in fact the two "camps" are not as far apart as the occasional roadside flare-up, pub talk and another tragic accident this week suggests.

The key finding is that an impressive 84 per cent of members, and a slightly lower proportion of non-members, believe that extra public money should now be made available to make cycling safer. And when asked what else was important in order to make cycling less hazardous, a third of those surveyed called for "physically separate" cycle lanes, while 27 per cent called for some form of compulsory basic training.

In fact, motorists chose these options way ahead of the survey's suggested alternatives for improving conditions -- including making the wearing of cycle helmets mandatory (demanded by just 7.4 per cent) and mandatory use of lights on bikes (five per cent).

A surprisingly low proportion -- 40 per cent -- said they believed that additional police resources should be ploughed into enforcing the rules of the road for cyclists (you'd think it might be higher, thanks to the small but annoying minority who force their way through pedestrian crossings without a thought for the young and elderly) and motorists largely refused to yield to the cheap shot of demanding a licence or registration process for cyclists.

Only 25.9 per cent agreed with this particular suggestion with 26 per cent disagreeing and a further 27 per cent saying they disagreed "strongly". The survey, published to highlight the launch of the IAM's new book -- How to be a better cyclist -- paints a far cosier picture of the cyclist/driver relationship than one might suppose after reading some of the more divisive comments over the years in our own letters and opinion pages.

But the explanation's obvious; more than 33 per cent of IAM members polled said they frequently cycle, with more than 20 per cent "sometimes" cycling, and more than 23 per cent "rarely" cycling. …

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