Northern Ireland public want better walking and cycling infrastructure

Man on bike crossing busy road

Just 55% of people in Northern Ireland are satisfied with cycling infrastructure

People walking in Belfast city centre

Over a third of public in Northern Ireland dissatisfied with walking infrastructure

Infographic showing results of survey on walking, cycling and public transport

Government infographic showing results of survey on walking, cycling and public transport

13 September 2018

We are calling for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) to focus much more on improving walking and cycling infrastructure in Northern Ireland following the results of a public satisfaction survey.

The Continuous Household Survey 2017/18 asked for the first time the public’s views on satisfaction with public transport, walking and cycling in Northern Ireland.

In the resulting 'Publication of Walking, Cycling and Public Transport in Northern Ireland 2017/18' report, public transport scored well with 72% satisfied with public transport provision in their area but satisfaction with walking and cycling was much lower.

Just 55% of respondents said they were satisfied with the current situation for cycling and cyclists in their local area and over a third of people (36%) were not satisfied with the situation for walking in their areas.

The results of this survey send a clear message that people want to walk and cycle but poor infrastructure and too much traffic, going too fast, is putting them off.

- Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director

Bike Life Belfast 2017

The main reason why people weren’t satisfied with cycling were the lack of cycle lanes (69%), 'Too much traffic' (42%) and 'Traffic goes too fast' (41%). This tallies with similar findings in the Belfast Bike Life 2017 survey which found that 65% of people would find protected cycle lanes useful to help them cycle.

The main reasons why people were discouraged from cycling were 'Don't own/have access to a bicycle' (54%), 'Too much traffic/too dangerous' ' (27%) and 'Motorists driving without consideration of cyclists' (21%).

Sustrans has been working with the PSNI ‘See the Cyclist’ campaign to highlight the recommended safe distance of 1.5 metres that motorists should pass cyclists on the road.

Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said:

“The results of this survey send a clear message that people want to walk and cycle but poor infrastructure and too much traffic, going too fast, is putting them off. We have been calling for the Department to implement the Belfast Bicycle Network plan and provide similar protected cycle lanes for cities, towns and villages across Northern Ireland.

“It is encouraging that 17% of respondents to the survey said they would be likely to cycle any journeys of up to three miles. This would go a long way to tackle congestion in our cities, as the annual Travel Survey shows, in Belfast, almost half the journeys we make are less than two miles.

“We also need to ensure our footpaths are suitable and well-lit to encourage people to walk more. Increasing the number of active travel journeys is a Draft Programme for Government priority and doing so will improve the public’s health, the environment and liveability of our towns and residential areas.”

We have been calling for:

  • £20 million to be allocated to build the Belfast Bicycle Network within a five year programme.
  • continued support for behavioural change programmes in schools, workplaces and communities to enable more people to travel actively.
  • all Primary 5 pupils to receive on-road cycle training.

Find out more about our policy work in Northern Ireland

Read the Bike life Belfast Report