The boss of the AA motoring association has said “this isn’t a time for cyclists to pretend they’re in the Tour de France.”
President Edmund King claims some riders are ignoring mini-roundabouts and stop signs during lockdown, as a poll revealed a quarter of people believe cyclists and drivers are behaving worse during the crisis.
While the government has encouraged cycling as transport and to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic, there have been numerous reports of cyclists facing hostility and abuse.
British Cycling and Cycling UK recently called for an end to the “deeply upsetting” abuse aimed at riders.
King said: With less commuter traffic and social distancing in place, it’s understandable that cyclists and walkers are using the quieter roads to their advantage. It’s good to see that pedestrians on the roads are perhaps being more vigilant than before.”
He added: “Less traffic doesn’t mean that drivers should start drag-racing at traffic lights, dangerously overtaking others or ignoring the speed limits. Drivers should also leave a wide ‘social distance’ when overtaking cyclists. Equally, this isn’t a time for cyclists to pretend they’re in the Tour de France and ignore mini-roundabouts and stop signs.
“If we all have patience with others, slow down and keep our distance, especially around those on family bike rides and walkers with young children, everyone can enjoy their time outside in peace.”
The AA surveyed 19,000 people across the UK to find out how people perceive road behaviour since the lockdown began.
A quarter of respondents (25 per cent) felt that the behaviour of car drivers and cyclists is worse since the crisis started.
Many police forces have reported an increase in speeding during the lockdown, as some drivers are taking advantage of the quieter roads.
As the UK looks towards easing its lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks and months, the government has faced calls to support cycling to prevent congestion returning to previous levels.
The Bicycle Association has proposed pop-up cycle lanes and removing VAT on bikes to get more people on bikes.