The majority of the UK population feel favorably towards cycling, would support an increase in funding to encourage cycling for everyday journeys, and believe that cycling is good for the environment, according to the results of a survey from the University of the West of England (UWE).
However, although most of those questioned want to cycle more for everyday short journeys, they feel unable to do so, with lack of confidence cited as the main reason.
These results come from research conducted by UWE, based in Bristol, and public opinion research body YouGov, which questioned people on their attitudes to cycling in two separate surveys conducted in 2010 and in 2013. The answers give a fascinating and useful insight into general thoughts and opinions about cycling and cyclists, which is in turn a great resource for those who are working towards increasing support for cycling in all its forms.
With regard to the confidence issue mentioned above, for example, the researchers felt that this is likely to be because cyclists, and new cyclists in particular, feel intimidated sharing the roads with motorised traffic. A significant 65% of respondents stated that they would support an increase in funding, which is good news for those that are campaigning for improved infrastructure for cyclists.
Results also showed that 72% felt that cycling is good for the environment, and 54% felt that Britain would be a better place if more peopled cycled.
Interestingly, it seems that people are also recognising media bias against cycling, with 37% stating that TV motoring programs are too negative about cycling. Could some of them be referring to the recent Top Gear piece, we wonder?
Professor Alan Tapp of UWE Bristol noted that, “Our data is clear that anti-cycling media rhetoric does not represent the views of the majority. A majority of adults in GB support cycling and want to see more money spent on it. Moreover, people recognise the environmental and congestion reducing potential of cycling, and many people would cycle more themselves – if only they felt more confident to do so.
This is more evidence to back up the key recommendation of last year’s All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group: government must meet the urgent need for a safer cycling environment by investing in cycleways. At the moment enormous budgets are allocated to road building without any opposition, and yet much more modest recommendations for cycling are prevented from happening. This surely needs to change.”
Getting more people into cycling, and supporting those who already ride, is something we believe in wholeheartedly. It’s good to see that popular opinion echos our feelings. 46% of those questioned felt that cycling is cool – and we know for sure that it is!