Negative attitudes towards cyclists are "almost like racial discrimination", says one of the country's leading motoring experts.

Edmund King, president of the AA and a keen cyclist, this week called for the eradication of the "tribal mentality' that exists on Britain's roads, prompted by the high profile accidents of Bradley Wiggins and Shane Sutton.

An AA-Populus poll has found that a minority of drivers, particularly those in the 18-24 age range, had showed a dangerous disregard for the safety of cyclists.

Speaking to The Times, King said: “It is a road safety issue. If you have got a minority of drivers and a minority of cyclists who hate each other they will take dangerous risks on the road and that can lead to more conflict and more accidents.”

These attitudes have been amply illustrated by a Twitter feed, @cyclehatred, that has been set up to retweet and compile any messages posted on the social media site that are derogatory towards cyclists.

Many tweets call for cyclists to die or admit to dangerous behaviour such as overtaking "as close as I can just to piss you off".

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