Environment “increasingly important” to people in Scotland, cycling study finds

Environmental factors are “increasingly important” to people in Scotland, and two-thirds think more people cycling would make Scotland a “better place”, according to cycling research.

The study, released yesterday, 13th January, found that almost eight in ten (79%) of people living in Scotland agreed that for the sake of the environment it would be better if more people cycled.

The proportion of people citing the environment as a factor in why they cycle has almost doubled since 2017, rising from 12% to 22%, with women more than three times as likely to mention environmental reasons than men (39% versus 12%).

Most people in Scotland have positive attitudes towards cycling, saying that it improves health and wellbeing (92%) and that Scotland would be a better place if more people used bikes (65%). In addition, high numbers of children continue to ride their bikes, with 61% of kids cycling weekly.

However, concerns about safety put adult and kids off cycling. When asked to name the main barrier, both people who cycle and those who don’t were most likely to select safety on the roads. Many people (63%) agreed that their local roads are too busy to be safe for cycling and that it is not a viable way for them to travel (64%).

Keith Irving, chief executive of Cycling Scotland, said: “This research is important as it provides a snapshot of how attitudes towards cycling are changing and helps inform where to direct our efforts. It’s encouraging to see the environmental agenda influencing transport choices and people saying how cycling could help to shape a greener, cleaner Scotland. But, that said, there is a lot of work still to be done.

“We want anyone, anywhere to be able to cycle easily and safely. As we enter a new decade, dedicated, inclusive cycling infrastructure – that reflects the various everyday journeys that people make – continues to be the biggest priority.

“With the Climate Emergency recognised and the eyes of the world on Glasgow and Scotland at COP26, the UN climate change summit, this November, it is more important than ever to use this evidence-based approach and get more people cycling to tackle transport-related emissions. We would encourage anyone with an interest in everyday cycling to read this research, which is available for everyone to use.”

Cycling Scotland commissioned the independent research, funded by Transport Scotland, to track attitudes towards cycling. More than 1,000 people (1,049) across Scotland were interviewed face-to-face in September 2019.

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