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Danger deters one in three Britons from riding bikes, according to new survey

Latest research reinforces perception of road danger as top reason people don’t ride

The perception that Britain’s roads are too dangerous to cycle on deters one in three people from riding more often according to a new survey, in line with findings from previous polls.

The survey of 1,040 adults aged 16-69, conducted by consumer research specialists Savanta, also found that 44per cent of Britons never ride bikes at all, rising to 54 per cent of women, with the gender divide also corroborating previous findings.

Among cyclists and non-cyclists alike, five areas of particular concern were highlighted. Those were cars, cited by almost two thirds of respondents (64 per cent), heavy goods vehicles (58 per cent), bad road conditions (54 per cent), buses (50 per cent) and lack of cycle lanes (44 per cent).

According to the survey, the keenest cyclists are those in Generation Z, the under-25s, but even among that age cohort, one quarter of respondents believe cycling is too dangerous.

Moreover, people in the 16-25 age group who are not regular cyclists attributed that to either not knowing how to ride, or because they lack confidence in their riding ability – both issues that could be addressed through wider availability and uptake of training schemes such as Bikeability.

A further issue highlighted that puts under-25s off cycling was the perception that it takes longer than other forms of transport – although any regular cyclist will be aware that for many journeys and especially local ones, it is often the quickest way of getting around.

The two biggest deterrents for people in London who do not cycle regularly, meanwhile, were the perception of danger, with half of respondents (50 per cent) in agreement, and the risk of bike theft, with a response level of 16 per cent – the highest in the country.

People who cycle at least once a month were more likely to do so purely for leisure (57 per cent) than solely for commuting (17 per cent), while 25 per cent do both.

A spokesperson for Savanta commented: “January is a time for resolutions — particularly health-related ones. However, the majority of British adults are actively avoiding cycling —a relatively cheap and convenient form of exercise.

“Our study suggests a lot could be done to encourage more cycling and alleviate safety concerns which are a key factor.

“Increasing the coverage and quality of cycle lanes would create a safer environment for cycling, as well as separating cyclists from other road users who are seen as the primary cause of unsafe conditions.”

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.

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