A new survey has found that one in three people in the UK say they could switch from driving to cycling or walking as a means of getting around once the lockdown is lifted – but they are also calling for safer streets.
The survey, commissioned by Cycling UK from YouGov, revealed that 36 per cent of participants agreed that in future, they could change their travel habits to use cars and other motor vehicles less.
It also found that around one in ten – 9 per cent of respondents, and equivalent to around 6 million people – have been riding bikes more since the COVID-19 crisis began.
The survey, conducted online on 27 and 28 April, polled 2,131 adults aged 18+ with responses weighted to reflect the UK population as a whole.
Traffic-free cycle paths and tracks were cited as the most important measure to encourage people to keep cycling once the current crisis has passed, attracting 63 per cent support.
Meanwhile, 53 per cent of respondents wanted to see more designated cycle lanes on roads, 30 per cent called for traffic restrictions on residential streets, and 24 per cent said that a speed limit of 20mph should be imposed in residential and built-up areas.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “Our poll shows clearly that people are prepared to rethink their travel habits, using their cars less and cycling more, but only if they feel safe to do so.
“The Prime Minister said this should be the golden age for cycling, while the Transport Secretary announced major funding to encourage more people to cycle as an alternative to public transport.
“But encouragement is not enough. If the roads don’t look and feel safe to cycle, only the brave will choose to do so. If there’s space for people to cycle separated from motor vehicles, millions more will do it.
“That’s why we’re calling on local authorities to act now to install pop-up cycle lanes and widen pavements to create the space for people to walk and cycle safely while social distancing.”
He added: “Money has been made available for them to do this in England and Scotland, and has been promised in Wales, with every government in the UK sending a clear message that more people cycling and walking is fundamental to the exit strategy from this crisis and central to how we do things differently in the future.”
The charity has been campaigning for pop-up cycle lanes to be introduced in towns and cities across the UK, including encouraging people to write to their local authorities to call for safe infrastructure to be introduced during the crisis.
Cycling UK has been campaigning for local authorities to introduce pop-up cycle lanes across the UK to help key workers travel to work safely and avoid public transport, and has seen more than 6,000 people write to their local council in support of this initiative.
In partnership with academics at Leeds University, it also identified 100 streets in 10 cities - London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Leicester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Cambridge – where separated cycle lanes would enable millions of workers to commute safely by bike.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.