Survey: 1 in 3 regular cyclists in UK have been knocked off their bike

Inurance firm Protect Your Bubble says Londoners most likely to come off and to suffer near misses

by Simon_MacMichael   November 13, 2012  

London cyclist approaching junction.jpg

A survey published by an insurance company claims that one in three regular cyclists in Britain have been knocked off their bikes by other road users at some point, rising to more than four in ten riders in London. The research, commissioned by insurance firm Protect Your Bubble from One Poll, questioned 2,016 regular cyclists, defined as those who ride their bike once a week or more.

Some 42 per cent of cyclists in the capital said that they had been knocked off their bike at least once, compared to a national average of 32 per cent, with the lowest proportion seen in Wales, at 25 per cent.

That’s not a surprising finding – London has higher levels of regular cyclists, especially commuters, than most other regions of the UK, and competition for road space is greater in the capital than elsewhere, coupled with the fact that it’s an exclusively urban location, unlike the others analysed which combine towns, cities and countryside.

Nearly one in three cyclists living in London – 32 per cent – claimed that they had either been knocked off their bike or had a close shave with another road user during the past month alone. That compares to 29 per cent of riders in Scotland, and 27 per cent in South West England.

Cyclists aged 25 to 34 were found to be most likely to have been knocked off their bikes at some point, at 40 per cent, although that does seem slightly counter-intuitive given that you’d expect older cyclists to have racked up more miles over the years – unless those included in the sample were weighted towards more recent converts to two wheels?

Members of the 25-34 age group were also found to be twice as likely as those aged 45-54 to have had a near miss with another road user within the past month.

The survey also looked at cyclists’ behaviour, with 14 per cent confessing to having damaged another vehicle while cycling, skewed towards 18-24-year-olds at 18 per cent, compared to 8 per cent of those aged 55 or older.

The survey also found that just under one in three riders said they had jumped a red light at a pedestrian crossing – presumably distinct from those at a road junction – although of course it’s impossible to say from that result how many might do that regularly compared to the proportion of respondents who’ve done so perhaps once with no-one waiting to cross.

Stephen Ebbett, director of Protect Your Bubble said: “Despite significant investment by local councils across the country to improve road safety for cyclists, it is worrying how many have been involved in incidents with other road users.

“It also might raise a few eyebrows just how many cyclists have been knocked off their bikes by other road users on more than one occasion. The fact is that UK roads are dangerous places and cyclists need to ensure they are safe and prepared at all times.”

Protect Your Bubble, of course, is in the business of selling insurance, and said that its survey findings highlighted the need for cyclists to take out cover.

“Collisions, even minor ones, can cause significant damage to a bike,” continued Mr Ebbett. “We estimate that 75-80% the cyclists on UK roads at any one time are not insured, which means if they are in a collision and their bike is damaged, they could be facing a huge bill to have it fixed or replaced.

“Considering that many bikes can cost more than £1,000, it is worth considering taking out insurance, particularly for cyclists who rely on their bike on a daily basis to travel to and from work.

“Public liability cover is too often overlooked, but it’s actually crucial,” he added. “In the event that a cyclist damages a person, vehicle or property, public liability cover is there to absorb the cost of legal fees or repair work on a damaged vehicle, so the cyclist doesn't have to pay out of his or her own pocket.

"If you hit a pedestrian who then takes legal action as they cannot work due to their injuries, legal fees and compensation could stretch to hundreds of thousands of pounds, so it really does pay to have this type of protection. Specialist bicycle insurance costs as little at £1.99 [per month according to the company website – ed] so it won't break the bank."

Public liability and legal fees insurance specifically tailored to cyclists are of course also offered as part of the membership package at no or minimal cost by organisations such as British Cycling and CTC.

11 user comments

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A better survey than some that have come out from insurance companies recently, but still not great.

The timescale for alot of the questions seems not appropriate (Have you jumped a red light ever? etc). Would they ask the same of motorists (Have you ever exceeded the speed limit? etc).

I'm not sure I would ever commute on a £1000 bike (although I saw a Cervélo on my way in this morning). I have a £600 bike (£300 on sale) for my commute bike I wouldn't bother insuring as I would be better off putting the same monet aside if it was damaged in an accident.

You get a far better deal with public liability insurance with CTC/LCC/British cycling than anything Protect Your Bubble offer. But so it shows how cheap third party liability insurance is compared to a car.

posted by thereverent [354 posts]
13th November 2012 - 17:30


'Protect your Bubble'???

WTF? Some kind of spirit level insurance?

Sort your name out, then I'll listen to your 'findings'.

posted by andyp [1371 posts]
13th November 2012 - 19:45


andyp wrote:
'Protect your Bubble'???

WTF? Some kind of spirit level insurance?

Sort your name out, then I'll listen to your 'findings'.

Sounds like the sort of name someone from Karmarama would've come up with

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [141 posts]
13th November 2012 - 21:00


What, ever? And knocked off by what? I've been knocked over by other cyclists more than I ever have cars, and fallen over myself more than both.

Twice, once and umpteen times, respectively.

posted by Nick T [906 posts]
13th November 2012 - 23:06


"The fact is that UK roads are dangerous places and cyclists need to ensure they are safe and prepared at all times."

So prevention is better than cure - an unusual stance for those selling insurance.

posted by Nick T [906 posts]
13th November 2012 - 23:08


Out of boredom, went to website to get a quote. Ridgeback World Voyage, £7.42 a month or £89 a year. £1.99 applies to sub £250 bikes only.

CTC membership £65(ish) for all family including third party insurance. With house insurance covering theft.

A case of convincing car to bike converts that they should have it?

Also, have a look at the restrictions of how and where you need to secure your bike.

posted by African_swallows [14 posts]
14th November 2012 - 7:28


AND it appears you'd have to pay this for each bike...

posted by African_swallows [14 posts]
14th November 2012 - 7:28


What significant increase in funding? Come on I can accept the evening standard just rehashing this lie without question or qualification but not you guys. When the government can spend £700m on 5 miles of motorway extension in Glasgow, that is significant, not a little bit of training and a couple of compromised bike lanes!

I'd be interested to know what protect my bubble think this investment is?

posted by georgee [158 posts]
14th November 2012 - 9:22


I have 3rd party through BC membership, which is a bargain.

No point getting other insurance - I do not have the facilities to keep my bike at home as required by the insurance.

posted by HKCambridge [212 posts]
14th November 2012 - 18:09


Drivers just need to chill out. Would be interesting to see the statistics on drivers who hit cyclists, bet most are fat with a fag stuck in their mouths, the ones who have nearly taken me out tend to be!!!

Chadders x

chadders's picture

posted by chadders [82 posts]
14th November 2012 - 23:43

1 Like

Last time I was knocked off my bike a motor bike buzzed me - and his pannier hit my rear wheel. One very buckled sprint. New rim required. Twat.

The world seemed flatter years ago?

brittleware's picture

posted by brittleware [30 posts]
15th November 2012 - 22:47