Government needs to take immediate action to tackle ‘fear of cycling’

Cycling UK is appealing to ministers to take urgent action to tackle a ‘fear of cycling’.

New figures released by the Government today reveal that road safety concerns remain a primary reason why more people are not cycling.

Despite a series of Government consultations, delivery plans and inquiries, the Department of Transport figures also show that cycling and walking levels are have remained stubbornly stable over the last 15 years.

In response, the national cycling charity Cycling UK is urging the Government to deliver real change and make cycling an attractive option to everyone, not just a small segment of society.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “The Government has just closed its consultation on cycle and pedestrian safety, and now we need them to urgently publish their findings and take immediate action.

“Its own statistics published today show that 60 per cent of adults admit they feel it’s too dangerous to cycle on the road, and in particular women and older people are put off cycling by those fears.

“Although cycling is statistically much safer than many people think, it’s clear the Government has to address the key issues of infrastructure, such as improving roads and cycle lanes, and making sure our traffic laws operate effectively to promote road safety for everyone.”

The figures show that while the number of trips made by bike have remained static, the distance people are travelling by bike has increased, and that people are cycling primarily for leisure.

But the statistics also reveal that journeys under two miles are overwhelming being driven rather than cycled, even though 38 per cent of people agree many of these journeys could be made by bike rather than car.

Mr Dollimore added: “This proves there is an appetite for people to cycle more, and it’s clear that cycling is growing in popularity but only as a leisure pursuit and not as the Government’s ambition to make it the natural choice for shorter journeys.

“Now is the time to stop talking about what needs to be done and get on with making cycling a much more realistic prospect for many more people.”

In response to the statistics, AA president Edmund King said: “Three-fifths of adults claim that it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, which is perhaps unsurprising due to the dreadful state of our local highways.

“The Government is very keen to encourage people to use active transport for short journeys, but with a road infrastructure riddled with potholes people are simply not willing to run the risk.

“As at least 22 deaths and 368 serious injuries of cyclists have occurred where potholes and poor roads maintenance are a factor, we believe politicians at all levels should be doing all they can to rectify these avoidable casualties.

“While half of children walked or cycled to school regularly, there is still a reliance on cars to get to school on time.

“In a recent poll, we found that 62 per cent of drivers with children experience traffic chaos around schools at drop off and pick up times, despite more than a quarter (27%) of local authorities offering a school bus service.

“Local councils are also neglecting their pavements and pathways, to the extent that over 10,000 people submitted compensation claims to councils across the UK follow trips on uneven footpaths.

“The Transport Select Committee has agreed to our request for an inquiry into the state of our local roads.

“As well as the impact potholes have towards drivers, we hope they take the opportunity to study the impact towards cyclists and pedestrians too.”

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