Motorcyclists are safest drivers on UK roads, survey finds

12th December 2016

It’s a bit of an old chestnut, but still fun to whip up a debate; who are the safest drivers on the road? Men? Women? HGV drivers? Nervous novices? Experienced older drivers?

Now a team of motor insurer specialists has put it to the test by launching a ‘have you ever’ road-confessions test to find out who the most angelic automobilists really are. And I’m glad to say that, while it might sound counter-intuitive, it’s motorcyclists.

First however a little background. Staveley Head invited motorists to admit, anonymously, whether they drove or rode over the legal speed limit, changed lanes without indicating, took selfies on the move, undertook illegally, drove under the influence of alcohol or whether they had ever clipped another person’s vehicle and sped off and so on. The results were highly illuminating.

According to the insurers, van drivers emerged as the UK’s worst motoring offenders. However, the findings show that it’s not men but van-driving women who are the worst offenders of all on UK roads.

Speeding over the legal limit is the most committed offence on UK roads with 95% of car drivers confessing to it. While difficult to defend, it is in fact becoming harder to stay within the letter of the law with the widespread advent of ever-lower limits including the growth of 20mph zones.

In fact the survey showed that just five per cent of respondents actually observed speed limits. Forty three per cent said they drive over the legal speed limit ‘quite often’ and 13% said they speed every single time they drive.

While motorcyclists came out as safest (maybe it’s because, as vulnerable road users they have so much to lose) 91% still admitted to going faster than they are legally allowed.

When it comes to using phones behind the wheel, motorcyclists were the most law-abiding, with one third admitting to having done this, although that still seems high, as it’s almost impossible to use a phone while riding in the first place. I know I couldn’t.

Shockingly, 20% of truckers admitted taking selfies while driving and 59% of car drivers admitted using their phones while on the move, as did 58% of van drivers.

Strangely, 19% of motorcyclists admitted clipping/scratching someone’s car unintentionally and riding off (not easy to do on a bike, when balance and keeping a safe distance from other vehicles is such a key factor) but the data shows van drivers to be the worst culprits with 1 in 3 admitting doing this.

The confessions data reveals that motorcyclists are also the least likely to drink and drive, even though 28% admitted having done so. More than half of lorry drivers (59%) and van drivers (57%) admitted driving while under the influence (they didn’t reveal whether they were over or under the limit) and men aged 35-54 were the biggest offenders.

Women are far more likely to take selfies while driving than men, with 1 in 3 confessing to using snapchat behind the wheel, 36% admitting to driving while over the limit and 1 in 4 women clipping a car and driving off.

The message is clear; it makes a lot of sense to use a dash cam to prove – in the event of a clash with one of Britain’s self-confessed baddies – that you were the one following the rules.

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