As we build up to the Parliamentary debate on cycling safety on Thursday, sustainable transport charity Sustrans has pulled together some interesting survey research on the back of The Times’ Cities fit for Cycling campaign.
The highlight of the survey is people who don’t cycle regularly or not at all would be more likely to cycle on the roads if they were made safer through changes like lower speed limits, more marked cycle lanes and more care taken by drivers and other cyclists.
The research is based on a nationally representative poll of 1,002 people aged 16+ conducted earlier this month on behalf of Sustrans by consumer research firm GfK NOP.
From the 1,002 people questioned, 806 said they didn’t cycle more than once a month or didn’t cycle at all. Of the 806, 46% said they never cycled at all with 34% saying they only cycled once a month.
Care taken by drivers and cycle lanes would be most welcomed by those who don’t cycle regularly or not at all with response rates of 54% and 53% respectively. Interestingly 16% of the sample claimed ‘nothing would persuade” them to cycle at all.
Reducing residential speed limits to 20mph, another key element of The Times campaign, was supported by 70% of the full 1,002 respondents of the survey.
Roads are unsafe for cycling
From the whole sample of 1,002 respondents, more than half (56%) still think that urban roads are unsafe to cycle on. Women more than men thought roads were unsafe to ride on (63% to 49%). This fact must concern those who want more women to ride. Likewise, the older people get, the more dangerous they think the roads are.
Regionally speaking, respondents in Scotland and Northern Ireland felt particularly that urban roads in these areas were unsafe to cycle on compared to other parts of the UK.
The survey found 19% of the 1,002 sample cycled regularly. This is defined as once a month or more. By gender, 25% of males and 14% of females cycle regularly.
Cycling regularly decreases with age with marked difference between the 16-24 age group and other ages groups. In the 16-24 age group, 52% cycle regularly but this drops to 22% for 25-34 year olds. In the 55-64 age group, only 11% cycle more than once a month.
Regional variations on cycling regularly were also quite marked. People were more likely to cycle in the South East, at 29%. The East Midlands follows at 26% and then the East of England at 23%. Lowest rates of cycling regularly were in Yorkshire and The Humber at 11% and the North East with 9%.
Wake up call
Malcolm Shepherd, Chief Executive for Sustrans, commenting on the survey results, said: “People shouldn’t have to feel they’re taking a risk when they travel on two wheels in our towns and cities.
“This is yet another wake-up call for politicians who must act now to save lives and take the fear out of everyday journeys.
“Ministers must invest in making our streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers.”
*With the scheduled three-hour debate on cycle safety due to take place at the Houses of Parliament on Thursday, a flashride to Parliament has been organised in London tomorrow. Departing from the Duke of York’s Steps on The Mall at 6.15pm, the flashride will highlight cyclists concerns over cycle safety. Going Going Bike will be there. If you can make it down to London with your bike, join the protest ride.
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