When it comes to getting along, Northwest drivers and cyclists share a reputation for being at odds. According to the latest Northwest Poll from PEMCO Insurance, those tensions aren't just a generalization – the poll confirms that more than half of Washington and Oregon commuters agree that cars and bikes don't share the road well.
Though frustrations flow both ways, the poll finds that cyclists are particularly annoyed by drivers – about two-thirds of cyclists (67 percent) say they're sometimes or often offended by the way motorists drive on shared roads.
Drivers aren't lenient on cyclists either – 52 percent of drivers say they often or sometimes feel offended by the actions of their cycling counterparts.
The PEMCO poll suggests that these tensions may arise when drivers and cyclists fail to follow traffic laws.
When it comes to respecting the rules of the road, drivers tend to stake blame on cyclists.
About half of Northwest drivers (53 percent) say that only some or just a few cyclists do a good job following traffic laws.
Conversely, though cyclists are frequently annoyed by drivers, they're more generous than their four-wheeled counterparts. More than half of those on bikes (56 percent) admit that that most or all drivers actually do follow the correct rules of the road.
"With more cars, more bikes and more people on the road than ever before, it's important that we work together to make safe choices whether you're on two wheels or four," said PEMCO Spokesperson Derek Wing. "It doesn't hurt to mention that a little courtesy can go a long way to ease tension on the roads that we all share."
Some groups are more vexed than others when it comes to sharing the road.
For example, male cyclists in Washington are nearly twice as likely than their male cycling counterparts in Oregon to say they are often offended by drivers (32 percent compared to 17 percent).
Yet, there is still hope for harmony. Though tension may exist, in both Washington and Oregon, drivers under 35 are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to think that all cyclists follow the correct rules of the road.
Similarly, among cyclists, 66 percent of the younger demographic think most or all drivers do a good job obeying traffic laws.
For a complete summary of PEMCO's poll results, visit www.pemco.com/poll where you'll find the responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in January 2019.