Fears over safety are posing a serious barrier to young people walking and cycling, according to the road safety charity Brake.
Brake surveyed 1,300 pupils aged 11-17 years in secondary schools and colleges across the UK, 47% of whom said parental concern was preventing them from taking up cycling, or cycling more often.
38% of those surveyed cited a lack of safe routes as a barrier to cycling, while 41% said traffic in their area is too fast for the safety of people on foot and bike. 37% agreed there is a need for more pavements, paths and cycle paths.
Brake says the findings “reinforce the urgent need for a cycling and walking investment strategy”, as proposed by the Government as part of the Infrastructure Bill. The charity also says the “widespread adoption of 20mph limits in cities, towns and villages is also critical to creating safe and inviting walking and cycling environments”.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: “All parents want their children to be healthy and happy, and many would love to see them walking and cycling more to achieve that. Young people want this too: it’s crucial to their health, wellbeing, and social and economic lives that they can get around easily and cheaply.
“That so many teenagers are being held back from walking and cycling by safety fears, in spite of its great benefits, is a shocking indictment of our road infrastructure.
“With the car as king in transport planning, walkers and cyclists have been for too long treated as second-class citizens. The safety of people on foot and bike is hugely important, as is enabling more people to make sustainable, active travel choices without fear of traffic danger.
“It is vital that the government builds this into long term transport planning, through the Infrastructure Bill, investment in safe walking and cycling routes, and making 20mph limits the norm in towns, cities and villages.”