More than two-thirds of motorists will not cycle as they are too scared of being hit according to a new report from Brake.
Almost 50% of those surveyed said that they never cycle, but more than a third said that they would use cycle paths if available. Of those that said they did cycle 34% said they only rode on paths away from the road and 34% said that dangerous drivers out numbered safe drivers on British roads.
Last year 2420 cyclists were killed or injured on the country’s roads, which is a 30% rise between 2003 and 2005. Cycle trips per year per person have also fallen from 18 to 14 in ten years (1995-2005) and the fear of other road users appears to be a key reason for this change.
The fear of traffic also appears to be having an impact on journeys to school. Nearly half (43%) of primary school are now being driven to school and 22% of secondary school children are being given lifts.
The conflict between different road users is of key interest to the RAC Foundation, which is why we are currently running a survey about communication on the roads. Brake’s report suggests a move towards 20mph residential areas to help provide greater safety for cyclists, and Portsmouth looks to be the first area to take up the mantle. As important as it is to provide a safe environment to encourage cycling the driver should not be forgotten. 20mph zone exist outside many schools across the country, which is an acceptable and understandable approach to many drivers. Setting a blanket coverage speed limit within urban areas may at first appear ideal, but practicality, acceptability and compliance needs to remain central to the debate. The recently revised wording in the Highway code states that cyclists should use cycle paths where available, which will hopefully catalyse a more integrated and high quality routes to help encourage cycling.