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Retailer asks people what would get them to cycle more often

More dedicated cycle lanes to improve safety and better facilities such as showers at work and more cycle parking spaces are the leading factors that would get more people cycling in Great Britain according to a survey commissioned by the nation’s biggest bike retailer, Halfords.

The survey of 4,500 people found that 40 per cent of respondents said that a dedicated cycle lane on every road would persuade them to cycle more often.

In addition, 30 per cent said they would be influenced to do so if more cycle parking were available, 19 per cent cited better facilities such as showers at work, and 17 per cent were in favour of tax benefits for bike riders.

Among the top responses were: 

  • Dedicated cycling lanes on every road (40per cent)
  • More places to park and lock bicycles (30per cent)
  • Better facilities for cyclists at work (19per cent)
  • Tax benefits for cyclists (17per cent)
  • New York-style cycle ‘super highways’ (16 per cent)
  • Compulsory cycling proficiency for all cyclists (16 per cent)
  • Local cycle safety classes (15 per cent)
  • Driving licence style accreditation for cyclists (12 per cent)
  • Better cycle safety products (11 per cent)
  • Lowering speed limits for cars (10 per cent)

Halfords also questioned people about calls by certain cycling campaigners – which, exactly, wasn’t specified – for a 10 per cent increase in segregated cycle lanes by 2025.

Some 41 per cent of respondents said that such an increase would lead to less pollution, 38 per cent agreed it would bring commuting costs down, and 32 per cent believed it would lead to less congestion on the roads.

But 28 per cent thought that it would result in greater conflict between cyclists and other road users such as pedestrians and motorists.

Chris Boardman, who as policy advisor to British Cycling helped launch its 10-point Time To #ChooseCycling manifesto in February this year, said: “Health, congestion, pollution, more liveable cites – whatever topic you want to choose, the bicycle can be a large part of the answer.

“In fact it's the only form of mechanised transport that actually contributes to our society – the UK gains £590 a year for every extra regular cyclist," he added.

The fact that dedicated cycle lanes emerged as the top response is in line with other surveys we have covered here on road.cc, such as this one from the University of the West of England in April, which reveal the perception of danger from traffic to be the number one barrier to cycling.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

54 comments

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Some Fella [890 posts] 1 year ago
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And in other news - bears found to be defecating in woods!

Why is it the world and his wife realise the benefits of good cycling infrastructure except, it seems, the people who make the decisions about such things?

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dreamlx10 [144 posts] 1 year ago
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Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

... better facilities ...

Quite rich considering every time circumstance has forced me inside my local Halfords in the last 5 yrs I have complained that they can't be taken seriously as a bike shop *with NO bike parking*

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parksey [343 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

This.

I might be in a minority here, but it shouldn't be about having paint slapped on the road marking out some arbitrary cycle lane to encourage people onto bikes, it should be about improving driving standards such that "everyday" cyclists don't feel unsafe or intimidated on the roads.

If my experience is anything to go by, drivers tend to pass you more closely when you're in a 3ft wide cycle lane than they do if you were just cycling on the road anyway. I tend to stay out of these painted cycle lanes too as they just dump you by the kerb amongst all the drains and general road debris.

Besides, it shouldn't be about cyclists having to be confined only to travelling on marked cycle lanes. Ok, for utility cycling where there are obvious routes between popular destinations there is perhaps some sense in this, but when I'm out at the weekend I want to use the roads I want to use, and not feel threatened by drivers because there isn't a cycle lane on them.

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Chuck [521 posts] 1 year ago
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It might sound pompous, but I'd expect that what most 'would-be cyclists' know about cycling in traffic is gained from driving past cyclists in their cars. Whereas a lot of 'currently-are' cyclists might think that bike lanes are not necessarily all that great, and have some idea of when they might not be any good at all.

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joemmo [1146 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

unless you're in the majority who clearly find sharing roads with motor traffic unpleasant, intimidating and downright dangerous.

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P3t3 [198 posts] 1 year ago
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The "improve driver behavior" solution will never work in the long term though, for two main reasons:

1)People are fundamentally fallible, and when they are driving, prone to inattentiveness/stupidity/prioritising the wrong things and not least bullying weaker road users. When would the training to improve driving take place? Who would pay for it? How would we ensure that the next populist government didn't just do away with it.

2) Just because drivers are better trained doesn't mean that people will feel any safer riding close to cars and the results of the survey bear that our.

There is a sustainable long term solution but it involves a government with the vision to fundamentally change the way that our streets and towns work instead of pandering to a public that don't even have any idea how much better streets could work and a motoring/road haulage lobby group with its own agenda.

It certainly doesn't involve driver training, it involves making cycling feel subjectively safer. Until its properly demonstrated in a town in the UK we can expect more deaths due to pollution and obesity and a woeful cycling rate.

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joemmo [1146 posts] 1 year ago
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A few people on here and plenty in government are still stuck in the mindset that cycle lane means painted gutter. Cycle lane should mean physically separated lane like they manage to provide in some countries on the continent.

I'm totally in agreement about preserving and improving the freedom to ride on the public road because you are clearly not going to get cycle lanes every where. However, in urban situations, if we really want proper, segregated lanes then some cyclists may have to adjust their mindset. This means accepting some compromise on their speed for the greater good of the majority who just want safe travel at their own pace.

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ribena [174 posts] 1 year ago
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Theres about 5 people out of the 100 or so in my office in London cycling regularly to work. The rest won't because they absolutely do not want to cycle to work on congested city roads shared with cars, taxis, lorries and buses. (To be honest, I agree with them some days)

As long as the existing cyclists continue to shout "all we need is driver education", cycling will remain a minority activity, mostly aimed at enthusiasts rather than "ordinary people" that just want to get around.

Things are beginning to change with TFL too. I've emailed them about a horrendous junction on my commute, and early next year they are removing one of the two lanes of traffic, and replacing it with a dedicated cycle lane and separate cycle-only traffic lights.

This is good news.

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GrahamSt [166 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

Good point - if having proper cycle lanes everywhere actually worked then places like the Netherlands would have loads of cyclists of all ages and abilities cycling everywhere!

Instead they can only dream of the incredible cycling utopia we have in the UK.

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Rich71 [52 posts] 1 year ago
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The percentages quoted in this survey of people who agree with these initiatives is predictably woeful for a random cross section of the British public
just 40% to 10% are in favour,that equates to 60% to 90% who are against or just dont care,with these figures is anyone surprised the corrupt filth oil goons in Westminster prefer inaction apart from a few token splashes of paint here and there
I really dont believe i will ever see in my lifetime a substantial programme of safe properly segregated cycle lanes in this country,there are too many vested interests these crooks are protecting,same issue with the need for a massive affordable social housing programme
until we kick these scum out and begin to become a more compassionate civilised society then the deaths and regression into neanderthal hatred will only continue

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FluffyKittenofT... [1113 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

If only some idiot hadn't let cars onto them!

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FluffyKittenofT... [1113 posts] 1 year ago
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P3t3 wrote:

The "improve driver behavior" solution will never work in the long term though, for two main reasons:

1)People are fundamentally fallible, and when they are driving, prone to inattentiveness/stupidity/prioritising the wrong things and not least bullying weaker road users. When would the training to improve driving take place? Who would pay for it? How would we ensure that the next populist government didn't just do away with it.

2) Just because drivers are better trained doesn't mean that people will feel any safer riding close to cars and the results of the survey bear that our.
.

I agree, but I'd say that the reason "improve driver behaviour" isn't going to work is that it would require a level of intense, constant, policing of the roads that is never going to be feasible in terms of cost.

"Training" won't do much unless its backed up with enforcement that means badly behaved drivers pay as high a cost for their errors as badly behaved cyclists do - but its not really practical to monitor roads that closely, that constantly.

The advantage of changing the physical reality is that once done it stays done, and makes following the rules the default option, and doesn't require paying large numbers of people to enforce those rules.

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GrahamSt [166 posts] 1 year ago
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FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:

The advantage of changing the physical reality is that once done it stays done, and makes following the rules the default option, and doesn't require paying large numbers of people to enforce those rules.

Exactly. Paint a white line and put up a sign - nothing much will change.

But actually physically change things a bit, put in a proper kerb or a few bollards, and suddenly it's a much safer environment to cycle in.

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bikebot [1634 posts] 1 year ago
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It isn't sharing the road with cars that puts potential cyclists off. It's sharing the roads with buses, lorries, tipper trucks and all the other massive vehicles that fill our cities.

With the exception of the construction industry, I often find those large vehicles have the most well trained drivers in London, but it's still intimidating and always potentially dangerous.

Most commuters are in congested towns and cities, the combination of high quality segregated infrastructure plus alternative routes using quietways is the right solution.

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Cranky Acid [40 posts] 1 year ago
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dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

I must remember to shout that very loud in the faces of my wife and kids, ignore their tears and make them join me for happy family rides through Manchester sometime.

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Cranky Acid [40 posts] 1 year ago
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parksey wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

.. it should be about improving driving standards such that "everyday" cyclists don't feel unsafe or intimidated on the roads.

...I tend to stay out of these painted cycle lanes too as they just dump you by the kerb amongst all the drains and general road debris.

Besides, it shouldn't be about cyclists having to be confined only to travelling on marked cycle lanes. Ok, for utility cycling where there are obvious routes between popular destinations there is perhaps some sense in this, but when I'm out at the weekend I want to use the roads I want to use, and not feel threatened by drivers because there isn't a cycle lane on them.

What you describe is BAD cycle infrastructure and what you reveal is that you are thinking only of you, and similar enthusiasts, not of kids, older people and those generally put off and intimidated by the current conditions. They make the vast majority that would form a modal shift to true mass transport cycling. It's got zero to do with weekend leisure rides.

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Beatnik69 [286 posts] 1 year ago
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If only a significant number or all of the remaining 95 people would realise that if they were to cycle that would be a vast amount of motorised traffic off the roads. If this were to happen in every workplace just imagine how little traffic there would be.

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joemmo [1146 posts] 1 year ago
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bikebot wrote:

It isn't sharing the road with cars that puts potential cyclists off. It's sharing the roads with buses, lorries, tipper trucks and all the other massive vehicles that fill our cities.

Do you have any evidence of this? I'm pretty sure most people would find cars just as threatening. They certainly should be equally wary of them.

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Leodis [399 posts] 1 year ago
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I have come to the conclusion lazy people will continue to be lazy no matter how many glass covered cycle lanes they paint. The roads are just as dangerous as anything else, cycle with care and learn from mistakes.

I would love more investment for cyclists who actually cycle not people who will make any excuse not to get out of their cars because after we make the roads safer it will be something else.

Its like the smoking ban, they refused to use the local pub because of smokers, they got the ban and still didnt use the local.

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HarrogateSpa [275 posts] 1 year ago
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Quote:

I might be in a minority here, but it shouldn't be about having paint slapped on the road marking out some arbitrary cycle lane to encourage people onto bikes, it should be about improving driving standards such that "everyday" cyclists don't feel unsafe or intimidated on the roads.

If my experience is anything to go by, drivers tend to pass you more closely when you're in a 3ft wide cycle lane than they do if you were just cycling on the road anyway. I tend to stay out of these painted cycle lanes too as they just dump you by the kerb amongst all the drains and general road debris.

Besides, it shouldn't be about cyclists having to be confined only to travelling on marked cycle lanes. Ok, for utility cycling where there are obvious routes between popular destinations there is perhaps some sense in this, but when I'm out at the weekend I want to use the roads I want to use, and not feel threatened by drivers because there isn't a cycle lane on them.

Most of these points have already been answered above, but:

1. I agree with you about bad cycle lanes, with just paint. Drivers do tend to pass you more closely. But it isn't bad cycle lanes we want.

2. My view is that training drivers will never work. It seems to be human nature that people give you lots of space if it's easy to do so, but if it isn't, impatience takes priority over considerate driving. You have to force them to allow space with the road infrastructure.

British Cycling found that 60+% of people are put off by having to share roads with traffic, so it has to change.

3. Weekend cycling on country lanes is a bit different to utility cycling in busy towns and cities.

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bikebot [1634 posts] 1 year ago
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joemmo wrote:
bikebot wrote:

It isn't sharing the road with cars that puts potential cyclists off. It's sharing the roads with buses, lorries, tipper trucks and all the other massive vehicles that fill our cities.

Do you have any evidence of this? I'm pretty sure most people would find cars just as threatening. They certainly should be equally wary of them.

Lots of empirical evidence from people I've worked with. I'm not suggesting people like cycling with cars, or that they wouldn't find them dangerous, but many people find the idea of sharing the roads with tipper trucks and other HGVs absolutely terrifying.

The news coverage in London, where they've been involved in the majority of fatal accidents even though they are only a small percentage of the traffic, suggests this fear is also partly justified as well as adding to it. Lot's of people were seeing pictures of crumpled bicycles lying under HGVs in the Metro and Evening Standard in that horrible few weeks last year. The HGV was very much cast as the problem, with proposals that they be banned from peak hour traffic.

Even that daft Top Gear episode caught onto the problem, with the pair of them petrified of the buses.

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jacknorell [942 posts] 1 year ago
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ribena wrote:

Things are beginning to change with TFL too. I've emailed them about a horrendous junction on my commute, and early next year they are removing one of the two lanes of traffic, and replacing it with a dedicated cycle lane and separate cycle-only traffic lights.

This is good news.

What junction is that?

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Initialised [270 posts] 1 year ago
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When they say dedicated cycle Lane I assume they mean the size of a bus lane not a gutter.

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rockdemon [12 posts] 1 year ago
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You're right, and my guess is that you're speaking from experience, rather than the respondent's of this survey who are probably hypothesizing....

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Leviathan [1784 posts] 1 year ago
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-Tax benefits for cyclists (17per cent)

Does that mean I get a rebate on my Council Tax because they won't fill any pot holes.

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dreamlx10 [144 posts] 1 year ago
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joemmo wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

unless you're in the majority who clearly find sharing roads with motor traffic unpleasant, intimidating and downright dangerous.

It won't get any better if we all cycle separately from traffic, more cyclists on the roads equals more awareness among other road users. The roads were not built for cars, they were built to get about the country more easily, by foot, horseback, bike, or car.

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dreamlx10 [144 posts] 1 year ago
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Cranky Acid wrote:
dreamlx10 wrote:

Cycle lanes are everywhere, they're called roads.

I must remember to shout that very loud in the faces of my wife and kids, ignore their tears and make them join me for happy family rides through Manchester sometime.

Not cycling on the roads won't make them any safer, less cars on the roads and more cyclists is the answer.

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antigee [277 posts] 1 year ago
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so only 1 in 10 people would consider driving more slowly.... that's because people simply aren't prepared to allow enough time to drive with consideration for vulnerable road users - I'm sure they would argue that it is external pressures work/school run times/childcare/getting to events that put the need to drive in this way as an essential - but in reality its a lifestyle choice and its needs a change in attitude and culture to allow vehicles cyclists and pedestrians to co-exist without conflict

I'm not saying slow driving always equates with good driving but allowing sufficient time for your journey which includes time to be considerate to and to drive safely near cyclists and pedestrians would be a big change - this survey shows that the prevailing attitude is my time is more important than other people's safety

The reason people perceive more separated facilities are needed is because they can't see the possibility of changing drivers behaviour to share roads

Segregated facilities have a place and there is a need for them adjacent to major routes but in urban environments where most cycle journeys should take place they only increase a them and us attitude - a bit like fencing off pavements so cars can move at speed without any concern for pedestrians
....and don't get me started on the cost of cycle lanes and the infringement on pedestrians of shared paths that take no road away from vehicles

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geargrinderbeard [89 posts] 1 year ago
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Look. If you French fry when you should pizza you're gonna have a bad time.

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