According to a YouGov poll of over 2,000 British adults, more than half of respondents think the UK government should be investing in cycling.
Nearly a third (31%) of respondents said they were more likely to get around by bike if more cycle lanes were separated from traffic on busy roads. Over a third (33%) said the dangers to cyclists discourage them from hopping on their bikes more.
In a separate YouGov poll of 959 adults in nine major UK cities, 54% said they support additional investment in making local cycling routes safer, even if it meant decreased spending for the benefit of other road users.
Politicians, in particular, should pay attention to the results: in the larger poll, 27% said they would have a more positive opinion of an electoral candidate who campaigned for cycling – a sentiment echoed by 47% of respondents in the second survey.
“Being able to get about by bike has become a serious issue for the British voter; candidates looking for success in the coming general election would do right to recognise this,” said Claire Francis, Head of Campaigns at active travel charity Sustrans, which commissioned the main survey.
“Despite these new figures, the Infrastructure Bill, which the government hopes to make law by March, is set to deliver the biggest shake up to the roads network in a generation, yet has no strategy for cycling,” Francis adds.
“We must change the Infrastructure Bill’s narrow focus on motor traffic and invest in cycling to extend travel choice, to ease congestion, improve our health and our environment.”
The poll results have already sparked some debate on Twitter…
@F0LL0W_F0LL0W @sustrans 28,000 people die from air pollution in UK every year. Much of it from vehicles http://t.co/nG6cQRI89Z
— Matthew☺Richard☻Ford (@MatthewRhyd) January 21, 2015
@David_Cameron @Ed_Miliband No “guaranteed” funding levels for #Cycling in #InfrastructureBill = NO VOTE for you! #Obesity costs #NHS £5bn/y
— In Oxford (@Oxford_Life) January 21, 2015
Earlier this week, British Cycling, Sustrans and a handful of other sustainable transport organisations issued a joint statement calling for the inclusion of a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in the Infrastructure Bill.
“It is not without irony that this falls so soon after the latest 12-year study from Cambridge University found that inactivity is killing twice as many people as obesity,” the statement read in part.
“This is combined with the fact that inactivity costs the UK economy £20 billion every year, with one in six deaths linked to physical inactivity. We must act now and make cycling and walking easier to do every day.”
The Infrastructure Bill will be voted on by Parliament on Monday (26 January).
(Images: Jonny Gawler)