Bristol Cycling Campaign’s annual cycling survey received its best ever response with over 1,200 people participating. The results show that concerns about road safety & collisions are the biggest deterrent to using their bike more. Not surprisingly, the majority (82%) said that protected bike lanes on main roads would encourage them a lot to cycle more, as with last year (What we learned from our 2020 supporter survey).
It’s clear to us that if the leaders in our City & Region really want to decarbonise transport, reduce air pollution, and increase mental & physical wellbeing through an active lifestyle, then its time to grasp the nettle and implement a network of continuous bike lanes & safe routes in our region. Especially at this time, when Central Government are pumping £540 Million into our region over the next 5 years through the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) to be invested in buses, walking & cycling.
This year’s annual cycling survey by Bristol Cycling Campaign gathered feedback from over 1,200 people, the vast majority of whom were residents in Bristol. Those surveyed were equally split between men & women with an average age of 42 (a little older than the Bristol average). The survey was self-selecting and promoted via social media in the region and virtually all those who responded (99.8%) told us that they could ride a bike and 93% own or have access to a bike.
When asked about their cycling habits pre & post COVID times, it was interesting that for the majority (53%) of people told us there was no change, a further 27% of people cycling less than previously, and only 1 in 5 (20%) saying they were cycling more. Clearly the emergency active travel measures taken locally have not given rise to the desired switch away from the car, at a time when public transport use is still considerably below Pre-COVID.
58% of people told us that they cycled twice or more per week, whilst 13% said they had not cycled at all in the last 12 months, and this rose to 21% of women. Going to work or to the shops and other venues were the most common reason for utility cycling trips, whereas road biking, touring and mountain biking trips were most common for leisure or exercise.
When asked about the barriers to cycling, the top three reasons given for not cycling more were: concerns about road safety/collisions (50% said “a lot”), concerns about bike theft (36% “a lot) and concerns about personal safety (29% “a lot”).
Chart: To what extent do the following things put you off cycling more?
Amongst those women, who had not cycled at all in the last 12mths, it was the same top three reasons, but at a much higher level answering “a lot” – road safety/collisions (76%), personal safety (55%), bike theft (36%).
Amongst the other reasons investigated in the survey, concerns about air pollution, lack of bike parking, concerns about harassment and it not being practical with children or baggage to carry were cited to some degree.
Conversely, when people were asked about what things would encourage them to cycle more 82% said a lot for protected cycle routes on main roads, followed by 76% for quiet streets with less traffic, then 46% for suitable cycle parking at my destination(s).
The next two factors that would encourage cycle use were secure cycle storage at home/near my home and information about local cycle routes. As most of those surveyed already had access to a bike, things like a cycle hire scheme nearbywere not very important for them.
The results of the survey are used to help guide the priorities of the Bristol Cycling Campaign. It was evident that based on peoples concerns, our initiatives related to improved cycling infrastructure in Bristol were considered very important by many.
Most important were our “Space for Cycling” and “Join the Dots” (Routes) campaigns. These work with transport planners, respond to consultations, and champion the need for connected up safe cycling corridors, as opposed to the short and erratic sections that we see today.
Highly valued were our Influence campaign demanding ambition and leadership in support of cycling from the Mayors, Councils, Officers and opinion makers in our region.
Equally, our Road Justice campaign for better policing & enforcement of dangerous and intimidating driving was ranked a very important by many.
Bristol Cycling Campaign also works in collaboration with other organisations to promote other initiatives that were well supported in the survey, these include Liveable Neighbourhoods – creating residential streets that are safer for cycling & walking, School Streets – making it safer for kids to walk or cycle to school, and CyclingWorks Bristol – encouraging employers to support safer commuting by bike.
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