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Drivers v Cyclists: Who's Right in These Common Road Use Debates?

There's a clear divide when it comes to cyclists and drivers on the road. While many empathise with cyclists when they’re in the car, others have little patience for cyclists and don’t feel like they should have to share the road with them. This causes plenty of friction and debate out on the roads – so who’s right and who’s wrong? 

Drivers pay for the roads

Plenty of drivers get their gear stick in a twist about cyclists freeloading on the streets and roads of Britain. Road tax is an expense every driver has to pay, but cyclists are exempt from. ‘Why should they get to use the roads I pay for for free?’, you may hear a ticked off taxi driver or late lawyer rage. However, this is a glaring misconception. All taxpayers pay for the roads, whether it’s through council tax, income tax, or VAT on anything you buy. So, the next time you’re tempted to use this argument yourself when you’re stuck behind a bike in your car, think again. 

Who’s right? Cyclists. 

Cyclists don’t bother using cycle lanes

There are endless miles of cycle lanes up and down the UK. They’re designed to keep bikes and cars apart, boosting safety levels and encouraging more people to provide their own environmentally-friendly pedal power. So it can be a huge annoyance to drivers if they see a cyclist shun their own lane in favour of the road. There are mitigating factors for our two-wheeled friends though. Some cyclists don’t like using the designated lanes, because they feel cars leave them less room when overtaking. Also, some cycle lanes are poorly laid out and can lead you a merry dance from A to B via X, Y and Z. Even so, it’s pretty frustrating if there’s a cycle lane nearby and you have to wait to overtake when you’re driving a car. 

Who’s right? When it happens; drivers. 

Roads are built for cars

With so much money pumped into the creation, maintenance and improvement of the UK’s road network, plenty of drivers claim that the purpose of them is to serve their car. However, the first properly engineered roads in Britain were built during the Iron Age, before the Romans ramped things up when they popped over. It’s fair to say the Emperor Claudius didn’t have your BMW 4 Series or Mercedes A Class in mind when work started on the Dover to London section of Watling Street in the years following his 43 AD occupation. The same goes for your BMX or Raleigh bike. The UK’s roads have developed and evolved over time, and everyone’s entitled to use them. 

Who’s right? No one. 

Bikers are a bunch of law breakers

Although cyclists are accused of breaking numerous rules of the road, the most common are using the pavements and failing to stop at red lights. Having said that, how many drivers are there out there who fail to indicate, speed, tailgate, use their phone and run red lights themselves? You may not drive around town like Lewis Hamilton, but few road users can claim to have a totally clear conscience. The key issue here – and one of the greatest causes of the divide – is that there are different rules of the road for drivers and cyclists. Cars aren’t allowed to skip queues, zip in and out of traffic, undertake or potter along, and seeing bikes do these things can provoke the ire of their occupants. 

Who’s right? Both as bad as each other.