Build more cycleways to get Brits on bikes, says Chinese company

New research into British views on cycling by a Chinese-owned company shows there is still a long way to go to get the nation on two wheels.

A YouGov survey of 2,059 people commissioned by dockless bike-sharing company Ofo found that while the vast majority of the British public can cycle only 32 percent do so once a year or more.

56 per cent of those who can cycle identified factors that would help them get on two wheels more often, with the provision of protected cycleways by far the biggest factor flagged by survey respondents. Two-in-five of those who cycle – 41 per cent – say they feel vulnerable when cycling when such cycleways are not available.

Over two-thirds of Brits that have learnt to ride a bike say the biggest barrier to cycling for work purposes is feeling unsafe on the roads. This is followed closely by bad weather at 62 per cent.

Respondents also identified a number of more practical barriers to cycling to work. Nearly half of respondents – 47 per cent – said having too much to carry to work would be a barrier and just under four in ten – 39 per cent – claimed not having showers at work put them off cycling.

Over a third of British workers – 38 per cent – said that they have cycled to work or for work purposes. For these people, the biggest reasons were fitness and cost. Three-fifths of this group – 60 per cent – said that the main reason to cycle is it keeps them fit, with nearly a half – 46 per cent – saying they choose two wheels to get around as it is cheaper than other methods of travelling.

Ofo UK operations director Joseph Seal-Driver said: “Cycling has the potential to transform our cities – making the way we travel cleaner, greener and more fun, and helping us to tackle perennial issues like congestion and air pollution.

“Advances in technology mean that cycling doesn’t have to be limited to those who own a bike, with the growth of both docked and dockless bike schemes making it easier than ever for people to get on two wheels. Yet despite the progress in recent years, there is still a huge untapped pool of potential cyclists out there, put off by safety concerns, busy junctions and a lack of infrastructure. 

“The message to urban planners and local authorities is clear: we must make cycling safer, easier and more accessible – starting with [protected cycleways].”

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