It goes with saying that far more people would be persuaded to cycle if there were facilities to enable them to do so in safety. It is one of the major barriers of entry to cycling, particularly for women.
In 2009, cyclists made up 0.5% of traffic in the UK, yet accounted for 5% of deaths and 11% of serious injuries on roads. 104 people were killed while cycling on roads and 2,710 suffered serious injuries such as paralysis, loss of limbs or serious head traumas, according to Department of Transport figures.
Brake speaks out
Road safety charity Brake this week called on the Government to invest in more engineering measures to help prevent cycling crashes and in turn help encourage cycling take-up.
Brake is in favour of seeing more traffic-free and segregated cycle paths, especially on commuter routes and connecting homes with local facilities, and widespread 20mph limits in communities.
Research from Brake, of 800 adults, found that 71% of respondents never cycle on roads and more than half (59%) never cycle at all. However, 34% of people who don’t currently cycle would cycle between home and local amenities if there were cycle paths and trails connecting them. Brake estimates that with investment in safe cycling facilities, an additional 20% of adults could be persuaded to get on their bikes as well as improving the likelihood of children cycling more too.
The piloting of cycling towns in England has shown that investment in safer cycling routes can help to increase levels of cycling by around 27%, though only 17 towns and one city have benefited from this scheme.