More than one in five cyclists in the UK are not seen by drivers, according to an experiment commissioned by the insurance company Direct Line.
For the study, 100 drivers wore special glasses that tracked their eye movement, showing where they were focused at any given time and what they failed to spot as they drove through the cities of London, Sheffield and Oxford.
While drivers failed to spot 22 percent of cyclists on average, results varied by age, geography and level of distraction. While people over the age of 50 missed 21 percent of cyclists, 31.1 percent of riders went unseen by drivers between the age of 20 and 29.
In London, 30 percent of riders went unseen, higher than in Sheffield (15 percent) and Oxford (20 percent).
Those using satellite navigation were also more likely to miss a cyclist.
Cyclists were also less likely to be seen than other people on the road. Drivers only missed four percent of jaywalkers and 15 percent of motorcyclists.
“For the first time we know exactly where people focus their eyes when driving and the results are frightening,” said Vicky Bristow, spokesperson for Direct Line, told The Telegraph. “UK roads are busy and congested and as a result millions of cyclists are going unseen. Blaming motorists seems like an easy option, but this issue can only be really addressed if both motorists and cyclists accept responsibility.”
To limit their chance of being hit by a car, cyclists should ride in groups, wear reflective clothing and follow the rules of the road.