Most adults in Scotland want safer streets for walking and cycling

man cycling past planters in George Square, Glasgow
Segregated cycle lanes like this one in Glasgow are key to getting more people cycling
61% of adults in Scotland support redesigning streets to make them safer for walking and cycling, while just 28% oppose it, a YouGov poll has found

  • Poll support for street redesign (65%) and cycle lanes (67%) strongest among 16-24 year olds
  • Survey results come as Scotland goes to the polls on 5 May for local elections
  • Cycling charity says councils must build high-quality safe infrastructure to increase cycling for short local journeys

Scottish adults show strong support for measures which make walking and cycling safer in their local areas.

In a poll carried out this month by YouGov on behalf of Cycling UK, 1,089 adults in Scotland were asked whether they supported redesigning streets to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Overall, 61% said they would support this, while 28% would oppose it. 10% said they didn’t know.

58% of adults surveyed also support the building of more cycle lanes physically separated from traffic in their local area, with 32% opposing.

Very few respondents think that more people cycling would make their neighbourhoods a worse place to live – the survey found that only 11% of people take this view.

In contrast, almost half (47%) of 16-24 year olds think that more people cycling would make where they live a better place.

Jim Densham, Cycling UK’s campaigns and policy manager for Scotland, said the results of the poll send a clear message to politicians that providing safer spaces for walking and cycling is a vote-winner. “It’s encouraging to see that there is strong support for reallocating space on Scotland’s streets for walking and cycling.

“The results show that support outweighs opposition regardless of age, social class or location in Scotland.”

Most Scottish councils put temporary measures in place during the Covid-19 pandemic by reallocating road space away from cars so that people could safely keep their distance while cycling and walking.

During the first year of the pandemic these measures and the quieter streets resulted in a 47% increase in people cycling in Scotland. Councils are now starting to consult people on whether to keep or remove these measures.

Following YouGov polling for Cycling UK last year, which showed that almost half (47%) of people wanted the Scottish Government to allocate 10% of the transport budget to enable cycling and walking, the Scottish Government has now committed to spending this record amount on active travel.

Mr Densham added: “It is now up to local authorities to come forward with projects to build cycle lanes and make neighbourhoods better places for people.

“Councils now have the power to build the safe cycling infrastructure that people want so that they can cycle more for short local journeys – it’s time for them to deliver.”

Notes to editors

1. Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often:

2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,089 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken from 21st - 25th March 2022. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Scottish adults (aged 16+).

3. More information on the Scottish election campaign

Press contact information

For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office. Due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak, currently the main press office number (01483 238 315) is not being monitored. If you would like to speak to a member of the press office during working hours (0900-1700) please call Jennifer Young on 07775 403652 or email Out of hours, call 07786 320 713.