Social attitudes survey on transport: The people have spoken but are they telling the whole truth?

!5 per cent ride a bike once a week or more, 67 per cent never ride, 91 per cent say speed limits should be adhered to… really?

by Sarah Barth   July 6, 2013  

Pedestrian zone cyclist.JPG

A new survey into the attitudes of the British public about different forms of transport has been published, going into detail about people's fear of cycling on the roads and road safety in general.

It reveals that most people are in favour of speed bumps and 20mph limits in residential areas, and some telling statistics, like the fact that the vast majority of people have no idea how much alcohol would make them over the legal limit for driving.

The survey found that 15 per cent of people in the UK rode a bike once a week or more, and a further 18 per cent told surveyors of some bike use. 67 per cent never rode. That's despite 43 per cent of those surveyed having access to a bicycle.

In 2012, 18 per cent of respondents said that their household does not own or have regular use of any cars.

When asked to respond to the statement: 'many of the journeys of less than 2 miles that I now make by car I could just as easily take by bike, if I had one,' 39 per cent of respondents agreed. 

Surveyors noted: "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% of females compared to 44% 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."

But interestingly enough, just forty-eight per cent of cyclists agreed that it is too dangerous for them to cycle on the roads compared to 65% of non-cyclists - suggesting that percieved risk is often greater among those who have not experienced it for themselves.

Some of the other main findings were:

  • Females and older age groups showed higher levels of concern over roads being too dangerous for them to cycle.
  • Concern about exhaust fumes in towns and cities was at a historic low.
  • Drivers claimed to have slightly lower concerns about roads being too dangerous for them to cycle on than non-drivers (58% of drivers compared to 63% of non-drivers).
  • Approximately half (51%) of all respondents were in favour of having speed bumps to slow down traffic in residential streets and 72% were in favour of 20 mile per hour speed limits in residential streets.
  • Three quarters of people don’t know how much alcohol they can drink before being over the legal drink drive limit.
  • 91 percent agreed that people should drive within the speed limit
  • 89 percent of respondents agreed that it is dangerous to talk on a hand held phone whilst driving.

To read the survey in full, click here.

8 user comments

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i guess the question i have, if these respondents are happy for 20mph zones to be implemented then why according to an RAC report do 46% of drivers break the 30mph limit?

Or is the reality that everyone else should obey the rules and i will carry on as before.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [860 posts]
6th July 2013 - 21:08

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Just wait until fuel hits £2 a litre!

I drive 35 miles to work (each way) in a motorised cage, but I am trying to move closer.
My job is based on the Suffolk coast where Londoners have pushed the house prices up and second homes have killed villages. Now I have to drive 70 miles a day in a cage (nearly 20k a year after social use).
If I could afford to move to within 10 Miles i would cycle more.

If the speed limits were lower and in car technology was banned then people may notice other road users more and reduce the number of accidents.

posted by LegalFun [8 posts]
6th July 2013 - 21:46

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Cycling isn't that dangerous right now but it definitely could be much better with infrastructure improvements. Why do politicians waste time arguing about helmets and IDs for cyclists, be bold like Stevenage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTXUXFVymaM&feature=youtu.be

Capital Cycles

posted by TeamCC [146 posts]
7th July 2013 - 0:57

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@TeamCC

"Basking in the glory of the Olympics"

"Lycra clad speed freaks"

A bit of a double standard, don't you think?

posted by Osprey [18 posts]
7th July 2013 - 11:55

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"like the fact that the vast majority of people have no idea how much alcohol would make them over the legal limit for driving"

Not actually a very telling stat. I have no idea but with a personal level of zero imposed on myself for driving, whatever the actual legal limit is makes no difference to me: I will be under it, at zero. But if was packing away pints oblivious to the limit because I neither knew nor cared I'd come out of that particular question with the same answer.

Pete Clinch
often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

posted by pjclinch [50 posts]
8th July 2013 - 8:44

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How much can i drink is a bit of a misleading question. It used to be 2.5 pints was the limit, but it depends on what you drink - Stella compared to a bitter - your physique, what you ate, your general health are just some points to consider.

However like pjclinch wrote, if your going to drive dont drink anything then you will have no worries. The worst problem is the morning after.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2435 posts]
8th July 2013 - 9:22

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I'm a lightweight, I'd be impaired even before I was over the limit, so I don't need to know how much I 'can' drink because it's irrelevant; I'd be pissed (and hence unfit to drive) regardless.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2607 posts]
8th July 2013 - 10:52

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stumps wrote:
How much can i drink is a bit of a misleading question. It used to be 2.5 pints was the limit, but it depends on what you drink - Stella compared to a bitter - your physique, what you ate, your general health are just some points to consider.

However like pjclinch wrote, if your going to drive dont drink anything then you will have no worries. The worst problem is the morning after.

I think 1.5 pints has always put you dangerously near the limit. But with so many different strengths of beer better to have less or none.

posted by Alan Tullett [1293 posts]
8th July 2013 - 11:21

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