Government needs to take immediate action to tackle ‘fear of cycling’

Cycling UK is appealing to ministers to take urgent action to deliver real change and make cycling an attractive option to everyone, not just a small segment of society.
New figures released by the Government today (August 30) reveal that road safety concerns remain a primary reason why more people are not cycling.

Despite a series of Government consultations, delivery plans and inquiries, the Department of Transport figures also show that cycling and walking levels are have remained stubbornly stable over the last 15 years.

In response, Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, is appealing to ministers to take urgent action to deliver real change and make cycling an attractive option to everyone, not just a small segment of society.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns, said: “The Government has just closed its consultation on cycle and pedestrian safety, and now we need them to urgently publish their findings and take immediate action.

“Its own statistics published today show that 60 per cent of adults admit they feel it’s too dangerous to cycle on the road, and in particular women and older people are put off cycling by those fears.

“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.”

The benefits of cycling are well documented, improving people’s health and wellbeing, reducing traffic congestion and helping to tackle air pollution.

The DfT figures show that while the number of trips made by bike have remained static, the distance people are travelling by bike has increased, and that people are cycling primarily for leisure.

But the statistics also reveal that journeys under two miles are overwhelming being driven rather than cycled, even though 38% of people agree many of these journeys could be made by bike rather than car.

Mr Dollimore said: “This proves there is an appetite for people to cycle more, and it’s clear that cycling is growing in popularity but only as a leisure pursuit and not as the Government’s ambition to make it the natural choice for shorter journeys.

“Now is the time to stop talking about what needs to be done and get on with making cycling a much more realistic prospects for many more people.”

Other reasons people give for not cycling include not owning a bike or owning a bike which needs repair, a problem Cycling UK is addressing across the country with its Big Bike Revival programme that has helped tens of thousands of people to start riding.

Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone.
  2. Full details of the Department for Transport’s walking and cycling statistics 2017 can be found here:
  3. Cycling UK research conducted by ComRes has found half of all drivers unaware of Highway Code advice on safe passing cyclists:

Press contact information

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email