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Millennials are fuelling cycling boom across the globe, according to new survey

Poll commissioned by Van Moof highlights generational divide in how people are travelling in cities post-COVID

Millennials are fuelling a boom in cycling across the globe, according to a new survey commissioned by the Dutch e-bike brand Van Moof – but as ever, safety concerns are the biggest barrier to getting more people riding bikes.

The findings of the YouGov online survey of 3,016 people living in in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris and Berlin, which sought to discover how people’s mobility habits and attitudes towards public spaces, have changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, have been published today to coincide with World Bicycle Day.

Van Moof said that “The results show that despite the widely publicised ‘e-bike boom’ and mass cycling adoption seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, people still do not feel safe cycling on the streets of some of the world’s major cities.

“Millennials, however, appear to be surging ahead in terms of their cycle-first behaviour patterns and determination to change their city’s transport status quo,” adding that “In the US, attitudes towards e-bikes and city mobility have undergone huge change over the course of the pandemic in cities on both coasts.”

Key findings across all five of the surveyed cities include:

43 per cent of all people living in the five cities sampled said that feeling safer would encourage them to cycle more. More cycle lanes (34 per cent) and less chance of bike theft (33 per cent) were the next most important factors to encourage more cycling in each city.

One in three people (34 per cent) across all cities surveyed said it’s more important to them that their city prioritises cyclists now than before COVID-19.

Almost double the number of 18-34 year olds (46 per cent) think prioritising cyclists is important compared to those over 55 years of age (24 per cent).

35 per cent of 18-34 year olds are more likely to make the switch to an e-bike for short journeys around all five cities since the impact of COVID-19.

Looking specifically at results for London:

45 per cent of all Londoners say feeling safer on the roads would encourage them to cycle more.

30 per cent of Londoners say it is more important to them now than before COVID-19 that the city prioritises cyclists.

One in four (26 per cent) Londoners would choose cycling generally over a car for short city journeys and that number rises to 33 per cent among 25-34 year olds.

And 18 per cent of people are more likely to choose an e-bike specifically for a short journey around London since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for e-bikes, for bike commuting, and for cycling generally,” said Van Moof co-founder Ties Carlier.

“What this data shows us is that the waves of cyclists breaking onto the roads of our biggest global cities need to feel much safer to sustain their new habits.

“A greater share of road space and better infrastructure will allow people healthier, greener, and cleaner ways to get around our cities.

“This data points to our cities having to evolve a more human-first and cycle-friendly future. Contemporary culture is rejecting the car-centric highways of the past,” he continued.

“The improvements for cyclists in many of these cities in the last few years is welcome.

“But it’s clear now that people want a far more comprehensive mobility mix to be a cornerstone of any liveable city, and not just an optional extra in a society built for, and ruled by, cars,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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