Third of people agree they could ditch the car in favour of cycling

Temporary cycling infrastructure in Leicester. Photo Ride Leicester
Adrian Wills's picture

Third of people agree they could ditch the car in favour of cycling

More than a third of people say they might rethink the way they travel once the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, according to a new survey.

The findings were revealed in a poll carried out by YouGov on behalf of the national cycling charity, Cycling UK, which also shows that just under one in ten (9%) people in the UK are cycling more during the crisis.

If that trend was replicated across the UK, that could represent almost six million people getting out on their bikes more2.

Thirty-six per cent of people questioned agreed that they could rethink their travel habits in the future to use cars and motor vehicles less.

But for people to carry on cycling when the covid crisis is over, they want to see:

  • Traffic free cycle tracks and paths to high streets and town centres (63%)
  • More designated cycle lanes on roads (53%)
  • Traffic restrictions in residential streets (30%
  • A reduction of the speed limit to 20mph in residential and built up areas (24%)

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns, said: “Our poll shows clearly that people are prepared to rethink their travel habits, using their cars less and cycling more, but only if they feel safe to do so.

“The Prime Minister said this should be the golden age for cycling, while the Transport Secretary announced major funding to encourage more people to cycle as an alternative to public transport.

“But encouragement is not enough. If the roads don’t look and feel safe to cycle, only the brave will choose to do so. If there’s space for people to cycle separated from motor vehicles, millions more will do it.

“That’s why we’re calling on local authorities to act now to install pop-up cycle lanes and widen pavements to create the space for people to walk and cycle safely while social distancing.

“Money has been made available for them to do this in England and Scotland, and has been promised in Wales, with every government in the UK sending a clear message that more people cycling and walking is fundamental to the exit strategy from this crisis and central to how we do things differently in the future.”

Cycling UK has been campaigning for local authorities to introduce pop-up cycle lanes across the UK to help key workers travel to work safely and avoid public transport, and has seen more than 6,000 people write to their local council in support of this initiative.

It has also identified 100 streets in 10 cities which would allow millions of commuters to cycle to work separated from traffic.

Almost 100 miles of streets and roads in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Bristol, Leicester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Cambridge have been identified by researchers at Leeds University.

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 email publicity@cyclinguk.org

Notes to editors 

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. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. Figure / data based on 9% of the UK adult population (64,553,000), calculated by Cycling UK 
  3. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2131 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27 - 28 April 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
  4. For more information on Cycling UK’s campaign to contact local councils see: https://action.cyclinguk.org/page/59646/action/1?ea.tracking.id=PR  
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