Cyclists Break Far Fewer Road Rules Than Motorists, Finds New Video Study

The Danish Road Directorate has released a new study that shows less than 5% cyclists violate traffic laws while riding, but 66% of motorists do the same when driving. The Danish Cycling Embassy is a private NGO that focuses on visibility. While law-breaking by cyclists can be easily seen by everyone, motorists’ violations, such as speeding and other reckless driving, are more difficult to spot.

A study was done by Ramboll, a consulting firm. It used video cameras placed at major intersections in Danish cities including Copenhagen. Only 4.9% of cyclists violated road rules while riding on bicycleways. When there was no infrastructure for cycling, this number rose to 14%. You want to see fewer scofflaw bicycle riders in your area? Install cycleways. )

There were 28,579 cyclists who crossed intersections, according to the video cameras. Bicycling on sidewalks was the most common transgression. In smaller cities, which have fewer bicycleways in Denmark, rule breaking by cyclists was twice the commonest. This new study was almost identical to the Copenhagenize earlier one. It also included a video analysis and examined the behavior of 80,000 cyclists.

The Danish Road Directorate conducted separate studies and found that nearly three quarters of motorists regularly flout the law. Breaking local speed limits is the most common offense.

The Danish Cyclists Federation welcomed the new video study and tweeted its delight that again evidence proved that “cyclists” aren’t lawless bandits.

Studies in Europe have shown that the stereotype of the “Lycra lout is false. An Transport for London study examined the hypothesis that most cyclists ride through red lights and found that 84% stopped at red lights. The study found that most cyclists obey traffic lights and that violations are not common.

Peter Walker, a political journalist from The Guardian made a video earlier this week asking whether cyclists are a threat. He concluded that statistically it wasn’t.

Traffic officer PC Mark Hodson from West Midlands police backed this up, saying that “the effects of behavior that people are complaining about is negligible.” The statistics show that cyclists don’t pose a danger to anyone, regardless of their actual risk.


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