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Two thirds of drivers often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist ‘appears from nowhere’

DriveTech News, Press Articles

Two thirds of drivers often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist ‘appears from nowhere’

  • Fifth anniversary of AA Charitable Trust award-winning Think Bikes campaign this month 
  • Think Bikes ‘naked cyclist’ video
  • 35k Think Bikes driver awareness stickers available
  • New AA/Populus research shows increase in number of drivers surprised by cyclists and motorcyclists
More drivers are surprised by a cyclist or motorcyclist apparently ‘appearing from nowhere’ than they were five years ago, according to the AA Charitable Trust.

Two-thirds of drivers now say they are often surprised when a cyclist (65%) or motorcyclist (63%) ‘appears from nowhere’* compared to just over half five years ago (55% cyclists**; 57% motorcyclists***). 

The research, launched to mark the fifth anniversary of the Trust’s Think Bikes campaign, also showed two thirds (66%) of drivers consider cyclists to be inconsiderate road users. 
Drivers over 65 were the most likely to say cyclists were inconsiderate (69%) and young drivers aged 18-to-24 were the least (57%).

The vast majority of drivers agree that cyclists (95%) and motorcyclists (93%) are vulnerable and always give them space. And more drivers now (93%) say they always look out for cyclists than they did five years ago (89%). 

The original AA Trust campaign encouraged drivers to place small Think Bike stickers on their side mirrors to remind them to look out for those on two wheels and also promoted a video featuring a naked cyclist to remind drivers that cyclists are not invisible.

Despite more drivers looking out for cyclists, ‘failure to look’ is still the most commonly cited factor in road crashes, contributing to 39% of injury crashes in 2017.**** 

Edmund King, director of the AA Charitable Trust, said: “For five years Think Bikes has been reminding drivers of the importance to do a double-take for those on two wheels. 

“Our new research shows there is still some way to go in terms of ensuring everyone on the road looks out for each other.

“On the roads it should never be a case of drivers versus cyclists or motorcyclists. Everyone is on the road to get somewhere and by looking out for each other we can ensure do so safely. It is disappointing that two-thirds of drivers feel cyclists are inconsiderate and this shows that more needs to be done by drivers and cyclists to co-exist safely and peacefully. The irony is that most cyclists are drivers and many drivers are cyclists.”

The original Think Bikes sticker concept came from Tony Rich, a former AA Patrol of the Year, after his friend, Jack Bellis, was killed in a motorcycle crash. Tony and Jack’s family wanted to do something to help prevent such crashes in the future.

Tony Rich, from Warrington, said: “I am so proud of how well the Think Bikes campaign has been received.

“Five years ago I never would have dreamt it would have had such an impact and it has been fantastic to watch the campaign grow across the world.

“The ‘Think Bikes’ campaign helps reinforce awareness that the road is a shared space. Bikes and motorbikes don’t just appear out of nowhere – we need to look out for each other.”

Five years of Think Bikes
  • The campaign was launched in March 2014 at Marble Arch, London, with the help of famous Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, 20-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness and with support from the Metropolitan Police. 
  • More than six million free stickers have been distributed via member renewal packs, AA Driving School, BSM, Halfords and personal requests. 
  • The campaign launch was supported by the Transport Secretary, Road Safety Minister, Department for Transport, Police, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and a host of cycling and freight groups.  
  • The success of the UK Campaign spread and, with support from the FIA, the campaign has now been 24 countries across the world with more interest regularly being expressed from countries such as Canada and Australia.  
  • The campaign has won numerous awards including the FIA Innovation Award. 

The AA Trust has 35,000 more stickers available. To request them please email

*20,788 adults, aged 18+, responded to the AA-Populus online panel between 12-87 March 2019. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
**17,629 adults, aged 18+, responded to the AA-Populus online panel between 12-17 December 2013.
*** 21,165 adults, aged 18+, responded to the AA-Populus online panel between 11-17 October 2013.


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