The path to a cycling revolution

William JordanUS Elections Editor
August 16, 2013, 8:05 AM GMT+0

60% of Britons say they never ride a bike – but more dedicated cycle paths and safer roads would get them cycling more

Earlier this week the government announced an investment of £94 million aimed at getting more people in Britain on bicycles in a move Prime Minister David Cameron says he hopes will bring “a cycling revolution”.

New YouGov research has found that most of the country doesn’t cycle, but most also think roads in their area are unsafe and many say dedicated cycle paths and better road safety would get them pedaling more.

60% of British adults never ride a bike, although cycling is of greater popularity among younger Britons – among those aged 18-39, 52% ride a bike at least sometimes, including 16% who ride at least once a week. Nevertheless, a majority of Britons (69%) – across all age groups – want the government to try to get more people on bikes.

There are also key measures that significant numbers of British people say would motivate them personally to cycle more often. Chief among them is providing more dedicated cycle lanes, something which 43% of Britons say would make them cycle more. 37% say improved safety on roads would also increase their cycling mileage.

Notably low on the list of possible changes is the provision free or cheap bike hire, which was cited by only 14%, suggesting that replicating London's famous 'Boris bike' cycle hire scheme outside of the capital may not be the best investment when it comes to getting more people on bikes. Just such a scheme will be starting in York in 2014.

That so many people think British roads could be more cycle-friendly is further supported by the finding that more than six in ten (62%) of British adults believe the roads in their own area to be unsafe for cycling.

Of course, there is one more change that would make a quarter (25%) of the country cycle more often – but is probably out of reach, even for the government's multi-billion pound investment plan: better weather.

Image: Getty

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