Survey says motorists want cyclists to don helmets & pay to use roads

A survey from a research agency claims motorists want cyclists to wear helmets & also want cyclists to pay a fee to use roads.
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A survey from a research agency claims motorists want cyclists to wear helmets & also want cyclists to pay a fee to use roads.
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A survey from research agency Consumer Intelligence of Bristol claims that an overwhelming majority of motorists want cyclists to wear head protection, and a third of motorists want cyclists to pay 'road tax'. Helmets are not compulsory in the UK, and roads are paid by general and local taxation with not a single penny of vehicle excise duty going directly to paying for roads.

The belief that roads are paid for by 'road tax' is 76 years behind the times as the tax was abolished in 1937. The actual name for the tax that motorists pay is vehicle excise duty, a tax on vehicles, not a fee to use roads. For some motorists paying for they believe to be 'road tax', a fee for using roads, gives them sense of ownership over the roads. One extension of this argument is that those perceived not to pay this fee have fewer rights on the road.

Consumer Intelligence's survey claims that 18 percent of cyclists would be willing to pay to use public roads despite the fact nobody pays to use public roads. A press release from the company highlighting the survey results is headlined 'Road wars as motorists and cyclists clash.'

The survey claims that more than ninety percent of motorists want cyclists to wear helmets. It does not appear the survey asked motorists whether drivers should be made to wear helmets. The PR manager and his assistant are away at the moment so BikeBiz has been unable to source the methodology used in the survey. However, the press release - given in full below - states that Consumer Intelligence conducted an online survey of 1,981 adults on 4th to 7th June 2013. It appears that 'road tax' - 76 years dead, remember - was used in the survey questions.

Consumer Intelligence's chief executive Ian Hughes said:

"Our intention is not to editorialise but just report the votes the way that they are given. The very fact that people voted the way they did would indicate that the public doesn't fully understand [what pays for roads]."

Consumer Intelligence of Bristol is said to be "an independent research agency that specialises in providing customer and competitor insight, gathering critical information on pricing, service and customer behaviour."

The company claims it has "the skills, experience and technology underpinned by a methodology that is accepted by all of the relevant regulatory bodies."

The Consumer Intelligence survey claims that 83 percent of motorists want cyclists to pass safety tests before taking to public roads. According to the survey, 75 percent of cyclists would be in favour of a compulsory helmet law.

In the Consumer Intelligence press release, PR officer David Black said: “The popularity of cycling is unprecedented…but there is also a lot of animosity towards [cyclists] in some areas from other road users, particularly in busy towns and cities.”

One of the forms of animosity towards cyclists is the erroneous, corrosive belief from some motorists that "cyclists don't pay road tax", an erroneous, corrosive belief now given credence by a market research company that has worked for many blue-chip clients.

Black added:

“There is much more that the Government, local authorities and companies could do to encourage cycling while improving the level of safety for cyclists and other road users, from making roads more safe to improving road surfaces or creating more secure areas for bikes to be locked up.”

The Consumer Intelligence survey claimed that 42 percent of cyclists cited poor weather as the biggest obstacle to people using their bikes more often. Safety is the biggest obstacle for 22 percent of cyclists, with a lack of cycle lanes being cited by 13 percent of the cyclists in the survey.

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PRESS RELEASE

27th June 2013
ROAD WARS AS MOTORISTS AND CYCLISTS CLASH


A third of motorists want cyclists to pay road tax and 59% think they should be insured. But more than half of all adults own bikes as cycling takes off

Nearly a third of motorists want to see cyclists paying road tax if they use the public roads and 59% believe insurance should be compulsory for those using pedal power, according to new findings* from independent market research firm Consumer Intelligence.

The study of public attitudes to cycling reveals a sharp divide between motorists and cyclists, despite confirmation of the UK’s continuing boom in bike use. More than nine out of 10 motorists believe helmets should be compulsory for cyclists and 83% want cyclists to pass safety tests before taking to public roads. Cyclists themselves largely agree on helmets and safety tests, with 75% backing compulsory helmets and 64% supporting safety tests but there are differences of opinion with only 18% of cyclists willing to pay to use public roads and 37% happy to pay insurance.

Despite the divide, the survey shows that bike use is booming. Around half of people have a bicycle with ownership higher among males (58% against 44% of women). Bicycle ownership generally decreases as people get older, except for a spike in middle age, reinforcing images of middle-aged middle-class men in lycra (or MAMILs as they are sometimes known). Fifty-seven per cent of 18-24 year olds own a bike, 48% of 25-34 year olds, 54% of 35-44 year olds, 52% of 45-54 year olds, before a sharp decline for 55-64 year olds (43%) and 41% of 65 and overs. Some 85% of bike owners use it primarily for leisure, and one in 20 (5%) uses it primarily for work. A further one in 10 (10%) cyclists uses their bike equally for both purposes. Just one in 10 cyclists (10%) use their bike on a daily basis and 28% use it weekly. One in five (21%) uses their bicycle about once a month, 12% every 2-3 months, 27% rarely and 2% leave it standing idle all the time. Public opinion on cyclists

Percentage of all adults who agree Percentage of bike owners who agree Percentage of non-bike owners who agree Helmets should be compulsory 83% 75% 91% Safety test should be compulsory for all cyclists wishing to use public roads 74% 64% 83% Cyclists should be allowed to ride on pavements at all times 15% 21% 8% Cyclists using public roads should pay road tax 24% 18% 30% Cyclists using public roads should be required to have insurance 48% 37% 59% David Black of Consumer Intelligence commented: “The popularity of cycling is unprecedented at the moment, largely thanks to the success of Britain’s elite cyclists in recent years, but there is also a lot of animosity towards them in some areas from other road users, particularly in busy towns and cities.”


“There is still much more that the government, local authorities and companies could do to encourage cycling while improving the level of safety for cyclists and other road users, from making roads more safe to improving road surfaces or creating more secure areas for bikes to be locked up.”

The British weather is the biggest obstacle to people using their bike more often, cited by 42% of cyclists. Safety is the biggest obstacle for 22% of cyclists, a lack of cycle lanes for 13%, and poor quality road surfaces for 10%. Another 8% cite a lack of places to secure their bike as the primary impediment to more regular cycling, and 4% blame a lack of facilities such as showers or lockers at their place of work. Nearly half of adults (46%) claim they would use bike hiring facilities if they existed in towns and cities they went to. Despite a high degree of publicity over road fatalities suffered by cyclists only half of them (51%) wear a helmet, with men less likely to wear them (47% compared to 55% of female cyclists).

* Online survey of 1,981 adults conducted by Consumer Intelligence on 4th to 7th June 2013

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