Workers to join cycling revolution?

August 01, 2012, 9:17 AM GMT+0

3% workers travel by bike; another 52% interested in cycling but say not 'practical' or 'safe'

With substantial traffic congestion predicted for the duration of the Olympic Games, despite efforts from various campaigns to encourage cycling, fewer than one in twenty currently cycle to work, our poll shows.

By far the most common means of getting to work is by car with over a third relying on their own vehicle for transport, though this amount is followed by people on foot with just under one in ten saying they walk to work

  • The most popular option with 36% was by car
  • Just under one in ten (9%) prefer to avoid cars and transport by walking to work
  • 5% rely on the train each day
  • Another 5% take a bus or coach to work
  • Just 3% are currently cycling
  • 2% take the underground each day
  • Another 2% say “other”
  • 6% work at home while 34% are retired, unemployed or not working

Of those who travel to work but do not cycle, over half would be interested in switching to cycling, but many do not consider it safe or practical for them. Meanwhile one third are not interested in cycling at all.

  • Of those who commute to work but do not currently cycle, just over half would consider switching to cycling (52%)
  • One third say they’re interested in cycling but it is not practical considering the distance and the time it would take (33%)
  • And one in five say they would be interested but want to feel safer and more confident as a cyclist (19%)
  • Over one third say they are not interested in cycling to work at all, and prefer to stick to their current means of transport (36%)

Easing the strain

London campaign ‘Get ahead of the Games’ has been encouraging workers to take up cycling or walking in order to better manage their time and travel during the Olympic Games, as well as helping to ease the strain on London’s public transport system. Employers are also encouraged to do their part to promote cycling, with tips such as build a cycling community, provide amenities such as showers and secure bike parking, and allow employees to dress down so they might cycle comfortably.

Is cycling the best option?

The Guardian has reported on more than one occasion that despite many campaigns encouraging cycling, much has unfolded that proves bikes may not be the easiest option after all.

When traffic and transport plans for the Games were first unfolding, Matthew Wright said that “it is difficult to see where the needs of cyclists have taken anything other than last place in London's transport planning.”

Laurie Tuffrey points out that as an event promoting an active lifestyle, with roads off-limits, towpaths closed, and bikes on trains restricted, the Olympics actually do more to encouraging driving than cycling.

See the full details and results of our poll (pg 8-9)