Five million motorists cycle regularly according to a new study by the institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and getting even more drivers on bikes is the key to less congestion, better health and less pollution, says the IAM. Its new study published today, Cycling Motorists (download link below) identifies the enormous potential for many more motorists to take up cycling either for leisure and more especially to replace car journeys.
IAM’s director of Policy and Research Neil Greig said: “Millions of motorists are already taking to the roads on two wheels. The IAM study identifies the huge potential for getting them to cycle more, and for getting motorists who know how to ride to take up cycling again. Getting more motorists riding instead of driving for some journeys or simply for leisure could give cycling its biggest boost.”
The study reveals that around half of all motorists own a bike; two in five of them cycle regularly, and half ride their bikes very occasionally. It also shows that twice as many men as women motorists ride regularly, but among motorist who don’t cycle, women are twice as likely to take it up again.
Nearly all motorists who cycle cite exercise, fun, as well as environmental and money-saving benefits as top reasons for switching to pedal power. What deters them are inconsiderate drivers, heavy traffic, lorries, the poor state of some roads and risk of an accident, as well as bad weather, time pressures and darkness. More cycle lanes, better weather, safer roads and less traffic top the wish list of cycling motorists;
However, despite an apparent concern about safety, the report found that only half of cycling motorists ride wearing a helmet and one third wear no protective/high visibility clothing at all. However, both cycling and non-cycling motorists agree that the experience of cycling makes drivers more careful.
Mr Greig added: “Britain’s garages, backyards and gardens contain a mountain of bikes just waiting to be ridden. No single initiative will get more motorists to use them. But Cycling Motorists provides powerful evidence for focusing campaigns to promote more cycling by the motorists who already cycle, as well as those who may need just a little push to get them riding again. The IAM will be campaigning for them to do so confidently and safely.”
Interestingly most regular cycling motorists say their employers encourage them to cycle to work, however more than three-quarters of non-cycling motorists say they do not anticipate riding again.
You can read the report in full by downloading it from www.iam.org.uk