The insurance company LV= says that more than four in 10 people – 42 per cent – are unaware of government efforts to promote cycling including urging councils to provide safe infrastructure, and the Fix Your Bike voucher scheme.
A survey commissioned by the insurer also found that protected cycle lanes would encourage three in 10 people – equivalent to more than 15 million adults in the UK – to take up cycling or to get on their bike more.
In line with similar survey findings in the past, the fear of road traffic collisions was identified as the greatest barrier to cycling, cited by 55 per cent of respondents – and 16 per cent had sustained an injury in the past due to a collision while riding their bike.
Concerns about being involved in a crash were highest in rural areas, at 63 per cent, and 18 per cent of people living in the countryside also said that there was no cycling infrastructure near them.
Across the country as a whole, suffering a puncture, at 28 per cent, and having their bike stolen, at 27 per cent, were also among the major concerns highlighted by participants in the survey.
Despite the Government recently announcing several initiatives to encourage more cycling and promote safety, such as new protected bike lanes, vouchers for repairs and free training, over two-fifths (42%) of Brits are unaware of these schemes.
The survey also highlighted a lack of understanding about the role household insurance can play for cyclists. More than a third of respondents, 37 per cent, did not know that their cover could protect them against third party liability for injury or property damage while cycling up to £2 million, and 24 per cent were unaware that their policy could cover them for damage outside the home.
Heather Smith, managing director at LV= General Insurance, commented: “The COVID-19 lockdown has undoubtedly spurred a velo-revolution, with many people keen to avoid public transport with greener methods of travel.
“However, there are very real concerns from cyclists and prospective cyclists around collisions and injuries.
“Anyone looking to take up or get back into cycling should take full advantage of the government schemes while they’re available.
“However, it is clear the government needs to take more action to speed up the implementation of cycle lanes,” she added.
The research was conducted by Opinium from 18-24 August among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults, plus a boost to reach 1,040 bike owners.
The Fix Your Bike scheme was launched amid much fanfare by Grant Shapps in May, wit the transport secretary promising 500,000 vouchers worth £50 each to households in England to help get unused and neglected bikes back on the road.
To date, however, only 50,000 vouchers have been released to the public, and the bike repair trade has highlighted problems both in recouping money from the government for work carried out under the scheme, as well as causing people to delay having their bikes fixed while waiting for the next wave of vouchers to be made available.
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.