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Potential cyclists being put off by traffic conditions and potholes

Cycling UK calls for fundamental policy change if government wants more people to cycle

A YouGov poll of 2,000 British adults has revealed that close passes, potholes and large vehicles are the top reasons why more people don’t cycle.

In March, the Department for Transport (DfT) launched a consultation calling for “help, ideas and evidence” on how to make cycling safer and more appealing. The YouGov poll was commissioned by Cycling UK to coincide with the charity’s submission.

Head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore, commented: “The Government wants more and safer cycling, but as Cycling UK’s research shows, people who don’t currently cycle need change if they’re going to choose to cycle short distances rather than drive.”

The poll found that more than half of respondents (57 per cent) are worried about sharing the road with lorries and large vehicles; almost as many (56 per cent) are worried about being subjected to close passes by vehicles; while a further 56 per cent said poor road conditions, such as potholes, are the main reason they are put off travelling by bike.

Respondents were also asked what would encourage them to cycle more. 45 per cent said separate cycle paths away from roads (e.g. cycle tracks in woodlands and parks); 45 per cent said segregated bike lanes (e.g. cycle lanes which use posts or kerbs to separate the road and cycle lane); and 42 per cent said better road conditions.

Dollimore continued: “The Government is being taken through the courts for failing its air quality commitments, casualties on our roads are going up, and our NHS is struggling with the burden caused by an inactive nation. More people cycling is part of the solution to all these problems.

“Cycling is still a minority activity in the UK with only two per cent of all journeys made by bike. Those who do cycle put up with the potholes and dangerous traffic conditions daily and still continue. However, it’s not always pleasant and it’s no surprise most people do not consider cycling for their short everyday journeys.

“In England in 2016, 64 per cent of all trips between one to two miles were driven. Making cycling more accessible and safer will give people the alternative transport solution they need. Cycling UK’s ‘Cycle safety: make it simple’ explains how this can be achieved, simply and cost effectively, and we look forward to working with the Government to help bring about the long awaited cycling revolution the UK desperately needs.”

Cycling UK is calling on the Government to make fundamental changes in six areas, which the charity believes will help give more people the confidence to cycle more often.

  • Changes to the Highway Code
  • Safer vehicles, especially lorries
  • Road and street design
  • Enforcement
  • Road traffic offences and penalties review
  • Funding

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