Largest ever cycle survey reveals hunger for more investment


British city dwellers want councils to spend an average of £26 per person every year on cycling according to campaigners, following what is thought to be the nation's largest ever cycle survey.

The research from transport charity Sustrans was carried out with over 11,000 residents of Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Manchester and Newcastle.

Respondents were quizzed on their opinions of cycling in their cities, and what it would take to get them cycling more.

Overall, 75% of respondents supported more investment in cycling, with £26/person a year the average amount people want governments to invest.

In Edinburgh, the Bike Life Survey found that 72% of respondents agreed more people should get about on bikes, while 62% reported that more people riding bikes would make the capital a better place to live and work.

In Greater Manchester, 48% of people live in households with access to at least one bike, but not all are being used – 14% currently cycle at least once a week, only 26% think provision for cycling is good or very good and only 19% see it as safe for children.

In Birmingham, only 39% see the city as a good place for cycling overall, with 27% seeing provision as good or very good, and 22% rating it safe for children.

In Newcastle, 53% of people think the city a good place to ride, but most have safety concerns. A quarter of Bristol residents that don't currently bike would like to do so, but they want protected lanes and traffic-free routes.

Belfast has experienced heightened interest in cycling in recent years , and the city council is currently rolling out a network of new joined-up radial routes. Its Bike Share scheme, launched in April 2015, has carried over 100,000 riders in its first six months.

Most Cardiff residents think positively about bike riding, and over half would like to start riding or ride more. But over 80% want improved safety and 78% support increased investment. The city council has already pledged to use the findings to make cycling a 'realistic option'.

Sustrans spokesperson Alec James told Transport Network: 'The importance of these findings is that, before serious infrastructure improvements can happen, deep-level measuring of cycling behaviour needs to occur regularly. This was the case with Copenhagen in the 1990s, and our survey will hopefully jumpstart major provision in the UK too'.

A follow-up survey is planned for 2017.

The survey method was based on the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, which helped to make Denmark’s capital one of the world’s most bike-friendly and ‘liveable’ cities.

comments powered by Disqus