Average number of cyclists has DROPPED over road safety fears

Regular cyclists make longer journeys but average number of people using bikes has DROPPED over pothole fears

  • In 2002, the average person went cycling 17 times a year for a total of 39 miles
  • Last year, it was down to 16 times but cyclists travelled for 60 miles in 12 months
  • Charities are now calling for government to take urgent action on road safety 

Fear of dangerous roads is keeping people from cycling, according to new government research. 

Cycling trips are down six percent compared to 15 years ago, but those getting on their bike are going much longer distances.

In 2002, the average person in the UK went cycling 17 times a year for a total of 39 miles. In 2017, that was down to 16 times a year, but total distance covered in a year was up by 35 per cent to 60 miles.    

Cycling trips are down six percent compared to 15 years ago, but those getting on their bike are going much longer distances

Road safety concerns are a key reason why more people are not cycling, according to Government research. 

More than three in five adults in England believe ‘it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads’, the Department for Transport study found. 

And women are more likely to avoid bikes, with 69 per cent saying they find the roads too dangerous to cycle on, compared to only 56 per cent of men. 


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Cycling UK, a national charity, claimed the findings show ministers must take urgent action to make cycling a more attractive option to everyone.

Some 102 cyclists were killed on Britain’s roads in 2016, up two per cent on the previous year. 

Less than a fifth of adults cycle at least once a week across in ninety-six local authorities.

The proportion of people who have ridden a bicycle in the previous 12 months has fallen from 38 per cent in 2011 to 35 per cent last year.

More than three in five adults in England believe ‘it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads’, the Department for Transport study found

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: ‘Although cycling is statistically much safer than many people think, it’s clear the Government has to address the key issues of infrastructure, such as improving roads and cycle lanes, and making sure our traffic laws operate effectively to promote road safety for everyone.’

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: ‘Cycling and walking provide enormous benefits to both public health and the environment, and it is good to see evidence that more people are opting for a more active lifestyle.

‘But it is also clear that as a cycling and walking nation, the UK has a long way to go to match the best international models.

The proportion of people who have ridden a bicycle in the previous 12 months has fallen from 38 per cent in 2011 to 35 per cent last year

‘Our 2017 £1.2 billion Cycling And Walking Investment Strategy was designed to start a much deeper and wider process of change.

‘In addition, we are investing £1.7 billion through the Transforming Cities Fund, to connect communities and support active and sustainable travel.’ 

The study also found a fifth of people take a twenty minute walks once a year or never.

Cycling UK, a national charity, claimed the findings show ministers must take urgent action to make cycling a more attractive option to everyone

AA president Edmund King said: ‘Three-fifths of adults claim that it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads, which is perhaps unsurprising due to the dreadful state of our local highways.

‘The Government is very keen to encourage people to use active transport for short journeys, but with a road infrastructure riddled with potholes people are simply not willing to run the risk.

‘As at least 22 deaths and 368 serious injuries of cyclists have occurred where potholes and poor roads maintenance are a factor, we believe politicians at all levels should be doing all they can to rectify these avoidable casualties.’  

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