New research from Cycling Scotland has revealed that saving money is a key driving factor in people taking up cycling.
The fourth wave of Cycling Scotland’s longitudinal study has explored how attitudes towards cycling in Scotland have changed since 2017.
In the research involving 1,037 participants, 29% said low cost was a reason to cycle, compared to 17% who said the same in 2021.
More than two thirds (69%) of participants in the survey said that saving money is one of their main motivations for cycling more often, an increase from 58% last year.
Laura Bouch, 34, a social worker from Glasgow who started cycling while roads were quieter during the pandemic, has kept it as part of her travel routine as a way of saving money and getting exercise. She said: “I’ve discovered that cycling is so much cheaper than driving. I save loads, and although I don’t cycle every day, it’s saving me £40 to £50 a month on fuel. I also feel better that by cycling, I’m helping to travel in a more environmentally friendly way.”
“I’m often at a computer all day and it’s hard to be active. If I’ve cycled to work, I feel that it reduces my stress and benefits my mental health. When I’ve cycled to work in the morning it also makes me want to be more active during the day.”
Cycling Scotland’s longitudinal study was previously released every two years, but now the independent research, funded by Transport Scotland, now annual tracks attitudes towards cycling.
Safety concerns remain a major barrier to cycling, the study also revealed, with two-thirds (69%) saying they would be more likely to consider cycling if there was less traffic on the roads.
The cycling gender gap also remains, as women would be more likely to consider cycling if there was less traffic on the roads (77% vs. 63% of men) and if they were more confident cycling (49% vs. 30% of men).
There has also been a trend towards higher levels of agreement around cycling’s benefits for the environment over time, with four in five people (80%) saying that it would be better for the environment if more people cycled (up from 72% in 2017).
Scotland’s appetite for cycling continues to grow, with the number of people saying that they are “extremely likely” to cycle more journeys in future doubling since last year (6% vs 3% in 2021 and the highest rate since the research began in 2017).
Denise Hamilton, head of communications at Cycling Scotland said: “In the current cost-of-living crisis, more people are realising that cycling offers an affordable way of connecting us to jobs, interviews, education and essential services. It’s also really positive to see the majority of people recognise how cycling ultimately saves you time – you can get where you need to go and do your daily exercise all in one!
“To help more people gain from the money saving and health benefits of cycling, we need to make it more accessible to all, by making sure we have fair access to bikes, and to bike storage, and making our roads safer.
“To improve safety, which will encourage more people to cycle, we need a network of dedicated cycling lanes, separated from traffic as the highest priority.”