Ireland’s cycling habits have been outlined in a new survey by the Road Safety Authority, revealing that uptake of cycling as the primary mode of transport has risen.
There’s also some interesting insight into the perceived dangers of various modes of transport, with the pool of 1,000 (all road users) indicating they believe cycling to be more dangerous than driving.
Starting with the positive, though overall cycling levels appear to have dipped slightly, those marking cycling up as their primary transport has risen sharply to 17 per cent from just nine the prior two years.
Overall cycling levels have dipped around three per cent year on year, says the study. Though just under one in four said they cycle, within people under 24, 37 per cent of respondents said they cycle. One in three people cycle in Ireland’s capital Dublin, something attributed to the creation of the Dublin Bikes hire scheme.
This scheme has expanded drastically over the past few years, with up to 5,000 hire bikes expected in the city by 2018.
The perception of danger among the 1,000 strong survey base suggested people viewed cycling as the second most dangerous form of transport, behind only motorcycling.
27 per cent described cycling as a "very dangerous" way to get around, with car driving racking up just 12 per cent. Official Gov.uk statisitcs (shown below), despite not offering a true sense of scale, suggest the opposite to be true. Oddly, only slightly less (ten per cent) described walking as "very dangerous".
The use of safety equipment crops up in the survey too, with 62 per cent stating the always wear a helmet and 69 saying the same of reflective gear. 86 per cent of those who always wear a lid also always wear reflective gear. Age tends to be a factor in uptake in protective headwear, with the 35+ age bracket declaring 60 per cent use and sub 35 52 per cent.
One in five cyclists state that they never wear a helmet, with 53 per cent citing inconvenience of carrying the lid around while out as a reason not to. 13 per cent blamed ruined hairstyles.
Related to the issue of protection on the road, another study posted this week suggests that helmet use is nowhere near as effective at preventing incidents on the road as both strength in numbers and properly designed infrastructure.