Number of people cycling to work set to double due to pandemic, survey finds

A survey of just over 2,000 GB adults commissioned by Irwin Mitchell has found that people’s transport habits are expected to change as restrictions continue to be eased, with cycling set to overtake public transport for commuting.

While only 6% of GB adults said they cycled to work before the first lockdown in March 2020, when asked which modes of transport commuters would use after lockdown this figure jumped to 13%, making it the third most popular mode of transport behind a personal car at 58% and walking at 26%.

“If as expected COVID-19 restrictions continue to be eased and people’s habits continue to adapt, more people will be travelling again,” said Peter Lorence, associate solicitor. “However, as indicated in our survey it could well be the case that many of those will still prefer to cycle in order to maintain social distancing. Particularly, they may well be compelled to do so if public transport capacity is still reduced.

“Worryingly, statistics recently released by the Government reveal that an estimated 56% of cars exceed 30mph speed limit, whilst a remarkable 86% of drivers exceed 20mph speed limits. Yet two-thirds of all crashes where people are killed or serious injured happened on roads with a 30mph limit or less. So, with an expected increased number of cyclists and motorists on the roads, it’s vital that everyone takes care.”

The survey also found that there had been an increase in households taking up cycling. A total of 12% of British households took up cycling during lockdown. 31% of 18-24-year-olds had taken up cycling, as had 30% of students surveyed.

Of those questioned, just over one in four – 26% – said they were likely to continue cycling post-COVID-19. Too much traffic on the roads – 33% – followed by a lack of designated and segregated cycle lanes – 21% – were the biggest factors preventing people from cycling. A personal lack of cycling experience put off 12%, while 8%e said a lack of facilities in the workplace such as showers and changing rooms were also a barrier to cycling.

“There are real benefits to cycling – both from a physical and mental health aspect – and we don’t want to put people off from getting on their bikes,” said Lorence. “With businesses reopening and employees commuting by bike and car we need people to watch out for each other; to drive and ride sensibly, at the right speeds. Sadly, we see all too often the life-changing impact road injuries have on innocent individuals and their families.”

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