According to a Government survey, one in five Brits don’t have access to cars, a majority of Brits don’t want more new roads, most people are in favour of 20mph speed limits in urban areas, and many more of those who own bicycles would ride them if roads were made safer.
These conclusions are in ‘British Social Attitudes Survey 2012: public attitudes towards transport’, released today.
61 percent of people indicated that they are concerned about damage to the countryside from road building. 18 percent of respondents said that their household does not own or have regular use of any cars or vans.
41 percent of people agreed they could just as easily walk many of the journeys of less than two miles they now travel by car; 39 percent said they could just as easily cycle (if they had a bike) and nearly a third said they could just as easily catch the bus.
According to the survey, women were less likely to agree that they could just as easily cycle many of the short journeys they currently make by car than men (34 percent of females compared to 44 percent of males).
"This may reflect lower levels of cycling amongst women, higher fears or simply that some of the journeys undertaken by women are less practical upon a bicycle than in a car," claims the survey, produced for the Department for Transport.
The DfT’s definition of a cyclist is "someone who has access to a bicycle and has ridden a bicycle in the last 12 months." On this basis, 32 percent of survey respondents were cyclists. Cyclists are also drivers, says the survey, with motorists more likely to be cyclists than non-motorists. 36 percent of drivers were also cyclists, says the survey, compared to 23 percent of non-drivers.
Forty-eight per cent of cyclists agreed that it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads compared to 65 percent of non-cyclists. 66 percent of women said it is too dangerous for them to cycle on roads compared to 53 percent of men.
Older people also have more fears over cycling than younger people. 43 percent of those aged 18-24 said it is too dangerous on the roads for them to cycle, rising to 73 percent of those aged 65 and over.
Drivers claimed to have slightly lower concerns about roads being too dangerous for them to cycle on than non-drivers (58 percent of drivers compared to 63 percent of non-drivers). "This may be connected to drivers already being regular road users and thus having greater familiarity with the Highway Code," claims the survey.
57 percent agreed that for the sake of the environment, everyone should reduce how much they use their cars. (In reality, this equates to everybody else should reduce how much they use their cars…)
Half agreed that there is no point them reducing their car use unless others do so. 26 percent of survey respondents said people should be able to use their cars as much as they like, even if it causes damage to the environment.
Males were more likely to agree that people should be allowed to use their cars as much as they want, even if it damages the environment (30 percent) than females (20 percent).
72 percent were in favour of 20 mile per hour speed limits in residential streets.
In a vivid demonstration that what people say and what they do are very different things, 91 percent agreed that people should drive within the speed limit and 89 percent of respondents agreed that it is dangerous to talk on a hand held phone whilst driving.