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Poll shows cyclists 'hard to spot'

As many as 93% of motorists admit it is sometimes hard to see cyclists while driving, according to a survey of nearly 18,000 drivers.

More than half (55%) of motorists are often "surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere", the AA/Populus survey showed.

The results came as the AA and the AA Charitable Trust, with support from British Cycling and the Motorcycle Industry Association, launched a national Think Bikes awareness campaign.

Initially one million free stickers will be distributed to drivers as a reminder to do a 'double-take' in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots. It is suggested that the cycle sticker is placed on the passenger's side and the motorcycle one on the driver's side.

AA president Edmund King said: "Our campaign is definitely needed when half of drivers are often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist 'appears from nowhere'.

"Those on two wheels never appear from nowhere so as drivers we need to be more alert to other road users."

Among those involved in the launch is British Cycling policy adviser and former Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman. There is also support from 20-times Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness and the Metropolitan Police.

Boardman said: "This move by the AA is a welcome step in creating a culture of mutual respect between all road users."

McGuinness said: "As a professional motorcycle racer, I definitely feel safer riding my bike on the track than I do on the open road. Too many drivers simply don't 'see' bikes and this can create a dangerous situation."

The AA/Populus survey, of 17,629 adults, also found that 54% reckoned pedal cyclists were inconsiderate road users, with males (57%) more likely to believe this than women (47%).

Drivers in London were the most likely to look out for pedal cyclists, while drivers in Wales and Northern Ireland were least likely to do so.

Asked about motorcyclists, 40% of drivers in the poll said motorcyclists were inconsiderate, with this number increasing to 46% among Londoners and 49% among drivers aged 25-34.

Cycling safety has been to the fore of late, following six cycling deaths in London in a two-week spell last autumn. London Mayor Boris Johnson has just announced plans to make some of the most dangerous junctions in the capital safer for those on two wheels.

Mr Johnson said: "This is a brilliantly simple idea which if widely adopted will undoubtedly save lives - and it reminds us, too, that cyclists and drivers have a common interest in looking out for each other."

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said he shared the AA's view on the importance of reminding drivers to look out for cyclists and motorcyclists and was happy to support the campaign.


From Belfast Telegraph