Road Safety News
 

Latest ‘Grand Depart’ survey focuses on teenagers

Thursday 3rd July 2014

The latest survey inspired by the Tour de France ‘Grand Départ' focuses on teenagers’ attitudes towards cycling.

The survey of more than 1,000 young people revealed “teen angst about taking to two wheels”, according to Brake and the insurer RSA Group.

The survey suggests that 9% of teenagers cycle once a week or more, while 23% never cycle. 42% of respondents said they “would like to be able to start cycling, or cycle more”, but of those, 39% said a “lack of safe routes” is preventing them from doing so. 46% said their parents would worry about them cycling, and 32% said they would “feel nervous cycling on local roads”.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, said: "‘Le Tour' coming is great timing given the wave of enthusiasm for cycling, but our survey shows many young people - our next generation of cycling stars - want to cycle more, but are wary of doing so.

“It remains that fast traffic and inadequate safe routes have a major impact on people's ability to choose and enjoy cycling, and children and young people's ability to live active lifestyles.

“It's a sad state of affairs that our next Bradley Wiggins may never get on a bike because his mum says it's too dangerous.

"Anyone who drives can help bring this about: pledge to ‘GO 20' around homes, schools and shops, and take great care to look out for cyclists and pedestrians this summer and year-round.

“We're also appealing to local and national Government to recognise the huge demand for, and importance of, safe walking and cycling, and implement widespread 20mph limits and safe routes."

The survey of teens was conducted as part of a wider project by Brake and RSA to engage secondary schools and colleges in road safety and help make streets safe for teens, in the lead-up to Brake’s Road Safety Week (17-23 Nov).

 

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“Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men,
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs, and demi-wolves are clept
All by the name of dogs. The valued file
Distinguishes the swift, the slow, the subtle,
The housekeeper, the hunter, every one
According to the gift which bounteous nature
Hath in him closed, whereby he does receive
Particular addition, from the bill
That writes them all alike. And so of men.”

Which is a rather long winded way of saying that I agree with the point that when we talk about cyclists we are speaking of a diverse species of road user, each with different needs and aspirations. It’s a term that will encompass a vast age range, breadth of experience and attitude towards the mode and other traffic.

The Tour will inspire many – and let’s be clear about this, the Grand Depart is but a warm up act for the September Tour of Britain, Devon stage ;) – and it will be all that’s needed to kick start a dormant commitment to cycling in some. Others will need to find their inspiration in different places and that will include a roadspace benign enough to give them confidence, or attractive and well considered alternatives to throwing themselves into the traffic mix at all.

For as long as the net health and economic benefits remain in favour of regular and frequent cycling across the demographic spectrum then we need to try to accommodate every variant of cyclist as far as resource will allow. It’ll never be perfect for everyone, but some basic building blocks - like good design and tolerant drivers - will go a long way for most. As a regular cyclist in France I often think that what British cyclists need (to keep them safe and encourage uptake) is French drivers. Ah the irony…
Jeremy, Devon

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)
+5

The enthusiasm for cycling may bring about more club cyclists and our "next generation of cycling stars" who crank up the miles in the country lanes at weekends and generate press releases of more cycling being done. But they are a different animal to the commuter who may want dedicated lanes, better junctions layouts and less lorries etc.
We must not mix the two.

The Tour is wonderful. It is a sporting event unique in that it is not played out on a pitch or stadium but by having closed roads they are in effect in a temporary sports arena. I'm a Tour freak and have followed it for over 40 years in the UK and France and will defend the ideal to the end but the commuter's goal is not a yellow jersey but to arrive safely. If youngsters want to cycle like their heroes there are clubs about to help but if they want to get to and from school and to meet their friends we need to listen to them and help.

Should we, dealing with road safety, distance ourselves from Cycling England a sports body and listen to those who use the roads for commuting? Looking forward to a lot of dislikes and some flack but maybe some constructive dialogue.
Peter Westminster

Agree (12) | Disagree (0)
+12

It should not be forgotten The Tour de France is a bicycle race on roads. My concern is that the competitive nature and drive of road racing which has sadly found Bradley at home with his mum, may be a very real turn off for the anxious young cyclist.

Happy to be chased over the mountain by the pack on this one!
Gareth, Surrey

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
+4

Our Press Release in August 2012 during the Olympics had a similar but more positive message:

http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/Press_Releases/Building_a_real_Olympic_Legacy-20's_Plenty_to_prepare_for_2020.pdf
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (5) | Disagree (3)
+2