A survey of 7,700 people has found overwhelming support for safer cycling, reveals Sustrans. In what it is calling
the "UK’s biggest assessment of cycling in cities" 78 percent of those surveyed by the charity want more protected cycleways, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.
The survey – conducted by ICM Unlimited for Sustrans – was carried out in seven UK cities in order to inform the charity's Bike Life report. This report is now published every two years on infrastructure, travel habits, public attitudes and the impact of cycling in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester and Newcastle. 64 percent of the respondents would cycle more if protected cycleways were provided.
"However, currently a total of just 19 miles of cycle routes on roads, physically separated from traffic and pedestrians exist in six of the seven cities (excluding Birmingham where no data is available)," claim Sustrans.
Sustrans CEO Xavier Brice said: “Bike Life shows that most people living in the seven cities say cycling is a good thing and are far more supportive of bold and ambitious plans for cycling than decision-makers often think. They want dedicated space for people on bicycles even when this means taking space away from cars.
“From Mexico City to Manchester, mayors around the world are waking up to the fact that their cities need to be designed around people, not motor vehicles and that investing in cycling is key to keeping their city moving, and improving health and economic vitality.
“At a time of falling funding for cycling in the UK – outside of London and Scotland – we call on governments at all levels to work together to meet people’s needs by investing in segregated routes that make cycling across our cities attractive, safe and convenient.”
Bike Life mirrors the Copenhagen Bicycle Account which documents development in cycling, identifies challenges and informs planning. Copenhagen began the Bicycle Accounts in 1996 and is the world’s most cycle-friendly city, with investment since 2004 of over £35 per head on cycling and a network of protected cycle routes on almost all main roads and bridges across the city. In the last year, 41 percent of trips to work and study in Copenhagen were made by bike.
Currently, there’s a huge variation in active travel spending in cities across the UK, to up to £25 per head in Bristol, however many cities are about to face a significant fall in funding.
British Cycling's policy adviser and now Greater Manchester's first cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman said: “Evidence has shown us time and again that the world’s happiest and healthiest cities all have high cycling rates in common. It’s no coincidence, cycling really is the silver bullet.
“More people using bikes instead of cars would address so many of the problems our urban centres face – health, congestion, air quality, social inclusion, you name it, more cycling will have a positive impact on it."