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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?

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.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

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