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Strong support for more investment in cycling, Bike Life reports show

Deniz Huseyin
20 November 2017

 

A survey of seven UK cities has revealed that 75% of residents want to see more investment in cycling. Cycling and walking charity Sustrans carried out research in the cities - Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester and Newcastle – two years after an initial survey. 

The new reports showed a rise in the number of segregated cycle lanes and bike parking spaces in the past two years, but also a rise in concerns about safety. Only 30% of respondents think cycling safety in their city is good while just 22% thought that the safety of children’s cycling was good.

Despite infrastructure improvements, the rise in bike trips in the seven cities over the past two years has only been modest, up from 120.8m to 123.2m miles.

Out of 7,700 people surveyed, 69% said more cycling would make their city a better place to live and work. A big majority (78%) said they would support the building of more segregated bike lanes separated cars and pedestrians, even if it meant less space for other road traffic. The survey also revealed that 64% would cycle more if on-road cycle routes physically separated from traffic and pedestrians were available.

Currently, there is just 19 miles of segregated cycle routes where cyclists are physically separated from both traffic and pedestrians in six of the seven cities (excluding Birmingham where no data is available). 

Xavier Brice, Sustrans' chief executive, said: “Delivering the transformation of how people move around in cities is going to take sustained political will and money. Copenhagen took decades to reach its 41% cycling modal share. But since 2004 it has invested more than £35 per head on cycling, resulting in a network of segregated routes on almost all main roads and bridges across the city.”

Chris Boardman, British Cycling Policy adviser and now Greater Manchester's first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, said: “Evidence has shown us time and again that the world’s happiest and healthiest cities all have high cycling rates in common. It’s no coincidence, cycling really is the silver bullet. 

“More people using bikes instead of cars would address so many of the problems our urban centres face – health, congestion, air quality, social inclusion…you name it, more cycling will have a positive impact on it.

“Greater Manchester is determined to become one of the most attractive city regions in the world and, in pursing that aim, it’s great to see through Bike Life the vast majority of our residents want us to prioritise making cycling a safe and attractive thing for them to do.”

The reports also assessed the economic value of cycling based on monetising the benefits and drawbacks of driving and cycling. This includes travel time, vehicle operating costs, health, congestion, infrastructure, local air quality, noise, greenhouse gases and taxation. The annual benefit of cycling to the economy across the seven cities was estimated to be £280m in total.

The Bike Life reports – the second to be carried out by Sustrans - aim to study infrastructure, travel habits, public attitudes and the impact of cycling in seven cities every two years. This includes an independent survey with a representative sample of 1,100 residents aged 16+ in each city on issues such as cycle safety, bike ownership and what people would like investment in cycling to be spent on.

The Bike Life reports are funded by the Freshfield Foundation, which awards grants to charities undertaking projects in the areas of sustainable development, climate change mitigation and overseas disaster relief. Another round of Bike Life surveys, which will again be funded by the Freshfield Foundation, are due to be published in 2019.

For more information and respective city Bike Life reports visit www.sustrans.org.uk/bikelife

Public support for more segregated bike lanes, even if this could mean less space for other road traffic:

Belfast: 81%

Bristol: 77%

Birmingham: 79%

Cardiff: 79%

Edinburgh: 80%

Greater Manchester: 77%

Newcastle: 74%

Bike Life: Key facts & figures

Belfast

Cycle routes: 110 miles

Segregated cycle lanes (including shared footways and paths away from roads): 53 miles

Public bike parking spaces: 769 

Number of bike trips in the past year:  6.7m 

Annual benefit of trips made by bike: £16m 

Percentage that think cycling safety is good: 30% 

Percentage that think safety of children’s cycling is good: 20%

Birmingham

Cycle routes: 174 miles

Segregated cycle lanes (including shared footways and paths away from roads): 133 miles

Public bike parking spaces: 3,227

Number of bike trips in the past year: 19.5m 

Annual benefit of trips made by bike: £56m

Percentage that think cycling safety is good: 22% 

Percentage that think safety of children’s cycling is good: 16%

Bristol

Cycle routes: 112 miles 

Segregated cycle lanes (including shared footways and paths away from roads): 75 miles

Public bike parking spaces: 9,900

Number of bike trips in the past year: 26m

Annual benefit of trips made by bike: £62m

Percentage that think cycling safety is good: 29% 

Percentage that think safety of children’s cycling is good: 20%

Cardiff

Cycle routes: 80 miles 

Segregated cycle lanes (including shared footways and paths away from roads): 54 miles 

Public bike parking spaces: 1,817 

Number of bike trips in the past year: 12m 

Annual benefit of trips made by bike: £28m

Percentage that think cycling safety is good: 34% 

Percentage that think safety of children’s cycling is good: 23%

Edinburgh

Cycle routes: 204 miles

Segregated cycle lanes (including shared footways and paths away from roads): 126 miles

Public bike parking spaces: 3,365 

Number of bike trips in the past year: 15.3m

Annual benefit of trips made by bike: £24m

Percentage that think cycling safety is good: 25% 

Percentage that think safety of children’s cycling is good: 19%

Greater Manchester

Cycle routes: 1,011 miles

Segregated cycle lanes (including shared footways and paths away from roads): 644 miles

Public bike parking spaces: 3,055

Number of bike trips in the past year: 35m

Annual benefit of trips made by bike: £70m

Percentage that think cycling safety is good: 27%

Percentage that think safety of children’s cycling is good: 19%

Newcastle

Cycle routes: 103 miles

Segregated cycle lanes (including shared footways and paths away from roads): 78 miles

Public bike parking spaces: 4,095

Number of bike trips: 8.8m 

Annual benefit of trips made by bike: £24m

Percentage that think cycling safety is good: 40%

Percentage that think safety of children’s cycling is good: 29%

 
 
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