20% of London’s cyclists have ‘stopped bike-commuting’

12.00 | 2 December 2013 | | 4 comments

A poll of 1,070 adults, a quarter of whom said they were cyclists, suggests that one in five cyclists in London have stopped cycling to work following the recent spate of deaths on the capital’s roads.

In the poll, carried out by Com Res for BBC London, 20% of cyclists said they had been involved in a collision.

However Andrew Gilligan, the mayor of London’s cycling commissioner, urged caution in interpreting trends from the poll, describing the sample size as "manifestly tiny" and adding that the media’s "all-consuming focus" on recent cycle deaths "has contributed to the fear that cyclists and potential cyclists feel".

And Transport for London says that cycling is not getting more dangerous in the capital. Its statistics show that from 2008 to 2012, there were 68 cyclist deaths while in the preceding five-year period from 2003 to 2007 the figure was 82.

The poli, which was carried out following six cyclist deaths in London in a two-week period, found that: 20% of respondents said they had stopped cycling to work and 63% said they cycled on pavements to avoid dangerous roads and junctions; 30% said they have changed their route to work and 68% disagreed that London’s roads are safe to cycle on.

The poll found that 91% of respondents believed the compulsory wearing of helmets would improve safety. However, among those who cycled at least once a week, the most popular safety proposal was the creation of cycle only routes, which was supported by 88%.

Andrew Gilligan said: "We know that fear about safety is a real and major deterrent to cycling and the mayor is doing more than any other politician in the country to address it."

He added that money is being spent and new staff hired to "improve London’s roads for cyclists, something that was happening before this recent tragic spate of deaths".


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    The 20% who have given up are not fairweather riders, and the poll does appear to have been robustly put together. These people are scared and have had bad experience of using the road. Had the road environment been conducive and inviting towards cycling then this drop would not have happened. There would have been an increase – after all there is little need to ride through London.

    DJC – Hants
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    Odd how the mind works sometimes and how it perceives risk and danger. Regarding the 20% who say they have stopped cycling – do they think it’s some sort of sinister cull and therefore they could be next on the list? If the same cyclists were told that statistically they have a 99.99% chance of riding to work safely every day, would they still perceive it as too risky? By the way, apparently in just one day very recently, there were three pedestrians killed on London’s roads – where’s the media spotlight on them?

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Very small number of ‘cyclists’ questioned. How many of those were regular commuters and how many are fair weather cyclists (like me) who put their bike away for winter for it to hibernate? Some will be fearful, but the media love to create a climate of fear, to blame, to sell papers.

    Olly, Lancs
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    Please can I suggest specially manufactured routes for motorcycles as well, its something that has been missing in any considerations or proposals for future traffic and transport needs.

    The reason I ask for this is a recent AA survey in which Mr King states that 13% of the drivers questioned would consider the use of powered two wheels as a mode of transport for commuting. That’s a lot of extra space for the remaining car drivers and a greater number of PTW riders at risk. Maybe that would bring up the %age of PTW to the acceptable level of 10% of all private transport used, and that will help change the attitude of all drivers.

    bob craven Lancs
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