According to Ireland’s latest Road Safety Authority report, Driver Attitudes and Behaviour 2014, slightly fewer people are cycling, but a greater proportion now consider a bike their primary form of transport.
The proportion of people cycling dropped from 27 per cent in May 2013 to 26 per cent in February 2014 and then 24 per cent in June 2014. However, of these, 17 per cent said they considered cycling their main form of transport in June 2014, up from nine per cent on the other two occasions.
One in four cyclists under the age of 24 uses a bike as their primary form of transport and a clear relationship with age is apparent. The proportion drops to 18 per cent for 25-34 year olds, 14 per cent for 35-49 year olds, 15 per cent for 50-64 year olds and 11 per cent for over-65s
The authors of the report believe this indicates that usage is often driven by necessity, but they also point to the figures for Dublin where 33 per cent of people cycle against 22 per cent outside Dublin. They believe the difference can be at least partly put down to the influence of the Dublin Bikes scheme.
The number of Dublin Bikes available for hire increased from 550 in March 2014 to around 1,500 by June. The Irish capital has seen journeys by bike more than double since 2006 but wants more growth and is aiming for cycling to account for 15 per cent of journeys there by 2017. The plan is for 5,000 Dublin Bikes to be available by 2018.
The Road Safety Authority report also looked at how safe people perceived cycling to be as well as the usage of helmets and hi-vis clothing.
Eighty per cent of motorists and 74 per cent of cyclists considered cycling either ‘fairly dangerous’ or ‘very dangerous’, while 20 per cent of cyclists said they never wore a helmet with 10 per cent saying they never wore reflective gear.