Far more people would be persuaded to cycle if there were facilities to enable them to do so in safety, finds research published today by road safety charity Brake.
The survey reveals that many people who don’t cycle are put off because of safety fears.
71 percent of the 800 survey respondents never cycle on roads.
However, 34 percent of people who don’t currently cycle would cycle between home and local amenities if there were cycle paths and trails connecting them.
“This means that with investment in safe cycling facilities, an additional 20 percent of adults could be persuaded to get on their bikes to improve their health and reduce carbon emissions and congestion,” said Julie Townsend, campaigns director of Brake.
She said cyclists continue to face major risks on the road that urgently need to be addressed.
She added: “Cycling is an enjoyable, sustainable and healthy way of getting around and Brake wants to encourage more people to get on their bikes. However, it is vital that the Government is committed to making cycling as safe as possible and reduce the unacceptable number of cyclist deaths and serious injuries that occur each year.
“This research shows that if we want more people to cycle, we need to invest in safe cycle routes and schemes that protect cyclists. The message is clear: let´s encourage cycling by providing more traffic-free routes and other measures such as 20mph limits to enable people to get on their bikes in much greater safety.”
Brake believes that the Government has the responsibility to make sure that cyclists are not subject to unacceptably high levels of risk when they take to the road and is calling on the Government to invest in more engineering measures to help protect cyclists.
“We need more traffic-free and segregated cycle paths, especially on commuter routes and connecting homes with local facilities, and widespread 20mph limits in communities,” said Townsend.
The Government is due to issue guidance to local authorities on setting urban speed limits within the next 6-12 months and Brake is calling for it to encourage city or town wide 20mph limits.
Brake also advocates compulsory cycle helmet wearing but said: “this should be delivered alongside a much more comprehensive off-road cycle network.” [Hint: which would be cheaper for Government to adopt?]
The UK bicycle industry has a ‘Big Society’ style self-help levy fund which promotes better conditions for cyclists. As well as helping to fund Bike Week and the Bike It scheme for cycling in schools, Bike Hub has a smartphone app to help cyclists find quieter roads and often obscure bike paths.