Road Safety News

A third of cyclists would drink and cycle

Wednesday 2nd July 2014

Nearly a third of cyclists would drink alcohol and then ride their bike, according to the results of a survey by the online insurance broker Policy Expert.

The survey of more than 2,100 of Policy Expert’s customers was commissioned to examine the differing attitudes between cyclists and drivers.

In the survey, 31% of cyclists who responded said they would cycle after drinking two or more pints of beer or large glasses of wine, and one in eight said they would do so after drinking three pints, or six units.

34% of drivers who were surveyed said that cyclists should pay road tax and 61% said they should have insurance. The corresponding figures for cyclists who responded were 14% and 35% accordingly.

30% of motorists surveyed said that cyclists are harmless, while 21% said they were a danger to drivers and other road users.

Policy Expert said: “Overall the survey showed that the relationships between cyclists and motorists is generally positive, with 30% of motorist considering cyclists harmless and 15% saying they wish there were more of them.”


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Sorry Dave, you are wrong in that assumption. Over 50 years of legislation has not stopped persons from drinking and driving. The reason is that a level of accommodation was made in that one can drink up to so much alcohol before one goes over the limit, and that is the problem. The end result is still deaths and injuries on our roads and all because this and other previous governments have avoided the issue and have, to a degree, become vicariously responsible for those deaths etc. What should have happened is a total ban on alcohol and therefore all would be in no doubt of the consequences of disobeying the law.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

Terry Hudson (like many ABD members) does not seem to understand the concept of "strict liability" or the more aptly named "presumed liability".

This does not create "blame" but merely "liability" for the way a motor vehicle interacts with a vulnerable road users. Where the driver can show negligence by that vulnerable road users then liability is reduced or avoided. This works well throughout Europe and hasn't cyclists throwing themselves at cars in order to injure themselves and claim damages.

Note that this is about "civil liability" and not "criminal guilt for offences" which is not altered in any way.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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As we head towards 'strict liability' legislation (where the licence holder is automatically to blame) it will not matter if the cyclist is drunk, riding an un-roadworthy bike or riding at night without lights, jumped a red light or anything else!
Terry Hudson, Kent

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I suppose that one must take heart from the survey results with respect to riding a bicycle after drinking. In itself it is lamentable that people take so little account of their vulnerability, but on the other hand it reflects how much weight they give to the prospect of being caught drinking and driving. It shows just how socially unacceptable it has become to drink & drive. We should give thanks to the years of good campaigns that have brought about this change in attitude.
David, Suffolk

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Then you propose that the current Excise for motor vehicles be raised? Due to the damage to the carriageway they inflict (bicycles virtually zero), the costs incurred by the pollution they create (bicycles zero), the costs of RTCs (bicyles very low - apart from all those grannies mown down anecdotally) - all of which is currently paid for through general taxation not VED. Revenue generated by VED barely even touches the above costs.
Steve, Merseyside

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So you propose that all bicycles must have their own MOT? Is this really feasible? Surely then all pedestrians must also be roadworthy?

You make the assumption - quite wrongly - that cycle helmets provide safety, as opposed to what has been proven, provide more danger in the shape of risk compensation by motorists, and little in the shape of protection.

You wrongly assume that cycle infrastructure is of the same quality for bicycles as highways are for motor vehicles. They are not and I refer you to the website for some very startling examples to the contrary.
Steve, Merseyside

Agree (3) | Disagree (4)

Some very valid points have been made. Vehicle Excise Licences for cycles would be zero rated given the level of emissions, however, there would be a need to be a check the roadworthyness of the cycle. Personal safety in the form of a helmet should be compulsory. Cyclists should be required to use cycle tracks where they have been provided. All cyclists should follow the example of the responsible cyclists who have already arranged insurance provision and have insurance to protect them from financial loss in the event of them causing damage or injury to a third party for which they are liable.

Agree (4) | Disagree (10)

On the insurance issue, when is an insurance company going to appreciate that the vast majority of cyclists are also motorists, but cannot undertake both at the same time? A great differentiator in a busy marketplace would be to sell one policy that covered both activities.
Steve, Chesterfield

Agree (5) | Disagree (1)

Whilst it is not compulsory, many cyclists do indeed have insurance, either via their household contents insurance or as a perk of belonging to a cycling organisation. It is given away virtually gratis because the risk imposed by cyclists as compared to motor vehicles is so minimal. (cue anecdata about cyclists mowing down the general populace, mostly old ladies). Insurance is mandatory for motor vehicles as the risk they impose, backed up by KSI figures, is so great.
Gary, South London

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As a definition of "Excise" in VED is "a tax on goods or services" and the highway authorities supply the service of the road, why not call it road tax? I would think that most drivers have no idea what happens under the bonnets of their cars or whether they have ABS, ESP, PAB or even UFO fitted or what they mean. Yes a lot of drivers don't even know what zero rated motor vehicles are or that a lot of cyclists do pay "road tax" because they own motor vehicles as well. However, I believe all cyclists should have some form of insurance.
Peter Westminster

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It was indeed unhelpful for the researchers to use the emotive and misleading term 'Road tax'. The usual excuse trotted out is that nobody knows what VED means. If a colloquial term is so vital then 'car tax' or 'emissions tax' would be more appropriate. The sense of entitlement stems from the belief that the roads are funded exclusively from VED and those who do not pay it are scrounging freeloaders. This is why Winston Churchill scrapped the Road Fund licence in 1937. VED is not ring fenced to pay for roads, which are largely funded by general taxation.
Gary, South London

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No doubt the term 'road tax' was used by the researchers in the original question. How do we get to an 'ignorant sense of entitlement' from that?
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

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I find it disturbing that 34% of drivers are ignorant of the fact that 'Road Tax' was abolished 75 years ago and is now VED, based on emissions. Calling it 'Road Tax' simply perpetuates the ignorant sense of entitlement. Are drivers who are required to pay VED similarly resentful of the thousands of zero rated motor vehicles on our roads?
Gary, South London

Agree (13) | Disagree (9)