Only one in 10 road users have read the Highway Code in the past three years, according to new research from the insurer Admiral MultiCover – and four in 10 have not looked at it for more than 20 years.
The revelation comes as a consultation from the Department for Transport (DfT) into proposed major changes to the Highway Code, which closes next month, continues.
Questions included in the insurance company’s research included whether cyclists are legally required to wear a safety helmet, with less than half of respondents – 43 per cent of drivers, 45 per cent of cyclists and 47 per cent of those who are both – correctly answering “no.”
One of the major potential changes to the Highway Code includes establishing a hierarchy of road users, aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, such as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders.
Among motorists, just 30 per cent were in favour of establishing such a hierarchy, with 70 per cent opposed. Cyclists, on the other hand, backed it by 60 per cent versus 40 per cent. Among those who drive and ride bikes, opinion was split with 53 per cent supporting the idea and 48 per cent against it.
Most agreed that cyclists should have third party insurance, with 79 per cent of drivers, 60 per cent of cyclists and 70 per cent of those belonging to both categories in favour.
Most cyclists already have such cover whether through their household insurance or membership of organisations such as British Cycling or Cycling UK, of course.
The idea of compulsory insurance was rejected by 38 per cent of cyclists and 17 per cent of those who also drive, but by only 7 per cent of motorists.
(It is worth noting that the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, the industry-run body which provides compensation in cases where a driver is uninsured, estimates that there are 1 million such motorists in the UK, despite a third party cover being compulsory).
According to the insurer, the highest number of claims in which a cyclist was involved over the past decade came from policyholders living in Leeds, followed by Bristol and the London Borough of Wandsworth.
It also analysed claims involving cyclists over the past decade by the month they happened in; unsurprisingly, there is a peak in the summer, although perhaps not as pronounced as might be expected compared to the data found in the Department for Transport’s own annual road casualty statistics.
Admiral added: “The way people travel is changing, and we support more permanent infrastructure plans for safe and sustainable travel for all road users.
“Dedicated spaces on the roads will help keep everyone safe.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.