Official Research Commissioned By Law Firm Shows Cycling Rates Also Set To More Than Double
Cycling has overtaken public transport as a preferred method of commuting to work following lockdown, official research has found.
And as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be eased, the number of people who say they are likely to take up cycling to get to and from work is set to more than double.
New data commissioned and released by national law firm Irwin Mitchell to mark Cycle to Work Day paints a picture of how Britain’s commuting habits are changing as the effect of the coronavirus pandemic continue be felt.
While only six per cent of GB adults said they cycled to work before lockdown, when asked which modes of transport commuters would use after lockdown this figure jumped to 13 per cent, making it the third most popular mode of transport behind personal car at 58 per cent and walking at 26 per cent.
However, too much traffic on the roads and a lack of permanent segregated cycle lanes were the top two issues putting off more people from getting on their bikes.
The research of just over 2,000 GB adults was carried out by YouGov.
Peter Lorence is a specialist serious injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell and the company’s cycling spokesperson. Irwin Mitchell is a an associate member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking.
While Peter, a keen cyclist, welcomed the Government’s recent £2 billion pledge to increase cycling and walking, he said that the barriers identified in the survey highlighted the need for action to taken to improve safety for cyclists.
Expert Opinion“During such challenging times it’s been uplifting to see new cyclists on the road and it’s certainly given me a boost seeing so many people cycling to maintain a healthy mind and body.
“With lockdown restrictions continuing to be eased, we’re seeing a return to busy roads and traffic that makes cycling a very different proposition to back in March, when social distancing was first introduced.
“We don’t want to put anyone off cycling and are delighted that the Government has committed to making it safer, but its proposed changes won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, cyclists and vehicle drivers need to continue to champion the collective and supportive ethos we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic.
“With businesses reopening and employees commuting by bike and car we need people to drive and ride sensibly, at the right speed. Sadly, we see all too often the life-changing impact road injuries have on innocent individuals and their families.” Peter Lorence - Senior Associate Solicitor
Before Covid-19, personal car and walking at 39 per cent and 17 per cent respectively were the two most popular ways of getting to work. Catching the bus was third at 11 per cent, followed by catching the overground train at eight per cent and cycling at six per cent.
Following lockdown, 58 per cent and 26 per cent respectively of those who commuted to work before restrictions were introduced plan on using a personal car or walking, with 13 per cent planning on cycling.
The survey also found that there has been an increase in households taking up cycling. A total of 12 per cent of British households took up cycling during lockdown.
Thirty one per cent of 18-24-year-olds have taken up cycling, as have 30 per cent of students surveyed.
Of those questioned just over one in four – 26 per cent – said they are likely to continue cycling post Covid-19.
Too much traffic on the roads – 33 per cent – followed by a lack of designated and segregated cycle lanes – 21 per cent – were the biggest factors preventing people from cycling.
A personal lack of cycling experience put off 12 per cent, while eight per cent said a lack of facilities in the workplace such as showers and changing rooms were also a barrier to cycling.
Last week the Government announced a package of measures aimed at increasing the number of people cycling and walking. These included building thousands of miles of new protected bike lanes as well as provide cycling training for those who want it.
The Government said its plan aimed to build on the significant increase in the number of people cycling during the pandemic.
Expert Opinion“That just over a quarter of respondents say they are likely to continue cycling post Covid-19 is quite telling about the safety of our roads, particularly before the pandemic.
“The Government says there’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to change habits. Given the survey’s findings and Ministers’ pledge to increase cycling and walking rates we now hope that the number of people who feel safe to cycle increases, leading to permanent change.” Peter Lorence - Senior Associate Solicitor
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's work in promoting safer cycling and supporting bike riders following accidents at our cycling section.