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Drivers break more road rules than riders

A new study out of Denmark suggests that drivers shouldn't be so quick to point their fingers at bike riders for breaking road rules.

The study from the Danish Road Directorate shows that while less than five per cent of cyclists break traffic laws while riding, 66 per cent of motorists do so when driving.

It also found that bike riders breaking road rules rose from 4.9 per cent when they were riding on dedicated cycleways to 14 per cent in areas where there was no bike-specific infrastructure.

This sends a clear message: if we want fewer bike riders breaking road rules, install more bike riding infrastructure. 

The study placed video cameras at major junctions in a number of Danish cities, including the capital, which captured the movements of over 28,579 bike riders.

Riding on the footpath was the most the rule broken most often, further indicating that compliance is linked to cycleways. Most riders who use the footpath will tell you that they do so because the road doesn't feel comfortable.

It is also not the first study to conclude that the common complaint of law-breaking lycra-wearing lunatics is in fact wrong – or at least unfair. 

A previous study in Denmark that analysed the behaviour of 80,000 bike riders had very similar results, with only 5 per cent of riders breaking the law, and two-thirds of motorists. 

The Danish Cyclists' Federation welcomed the study findings with a tweet that stated "cyclists are not lawless bandits."

Similarly, a Transport for London study investigating the “hypothesis that the majority of cyclists ride through red lights” discovered that 84% of cyclists stopped on reds, concluding the “majority of cyclists obey red traffic lights” and “violation is not endemic.”

Earlier this month a political journalist from the UK, Peter Walker, put together a thought-provoking video titled "Do cyclists think they're above the law, and does it even matter?"

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