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UWE Bristol survey of attitudes to cycling in Great Britain

4th April 2014

Example of a separated cycle lane, Barcelona

New research by a team at the University of the West of England in Bristol shows that cyclists are viewed positively by a large majority of people in Britain, and there is great support for an increase in funding for cycle infrastructure.

The research by Alan Tapp, Professor of Social Marketing at UWE, is based on surveys undertaken by YouGov in Great Britain in 2010 and 2013. In 2013, 34% of respondents agreed with the statement 'I'm not confident enough to consider cycling', and 65% were in favour of an increase in funding to support more cycling for everyday journeys. This suggests that better protection for cyclists would encourage more people to cycle. 

Other results from the 2013 survey were:

  • 68% of respondents thought cyclists should be taken seriously
  • 50% said cyclists are brave
  • 72% felt that cycling is good for the environment (against 8% who disagreed)
  • 54% agreed that Britain would be a better place if more people cycled (13% disagreed)
  • 30% agreed that cycling is a great way of solving some of the world's problems
  • 46% said that cycling is cool
  • only 10% agreed that 'cycling to work isn't normal'

Looking back to the survey carried out by YouGov in 2010, 33% of respondents at that time said that they were contemplating cycling for short journeys, and 18% had actually made plans to take up cycling. However, the 2013 data showed that these plans had not materialised, as cycling levels remained flat.

In a news article on UWE's website, Professor Tapp said, 'This is more evidence to back up the key recommendation of last year's All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group [report]: 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.'


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