The UK’s most comprehensive assessment of cycling in cities, Bike Life, has revealed that over two thirds of residents in Glasgow, Stirling and Perth support building more protected roadside cycle lanes even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.
The reports, which are produced by Sustrans in partnership with Glasgow, Stirling and Perth and Kinross Councils and funded by Transport Scotland, found that of the 3,300 people surveyed in the three cities, 82% in Glasgow, 69% in Perth, 83% in Stirling supported the move.
Additionally, the Bike Life reports found that as well as thinking their city would be a better place to live and work if more people cycled (67% Glasgow, 66% Perth, 71% Stirling), more than two thirds of people would like to see more money spent on cycling in their city (78% Glasgow, 69% Perth, 76% Stirling).
However, the survey also found that there is a huge potential for more people to ride bikes across the three cities, with 7% of residents or less in each of the three cities claiming to usually travel to and from work by bicycle (7% Glasgow, 1% Perth, 3% Stirling).
This is despite at least one third of households in each city owning at least one adult bike (40% Glasgow, 34% Perth, 33% Stirling).
Bike Life also found that people cycling in the three cities take up to 14,291 cars off roads each day and contributes £68.4 million to the cities annually in economic benefit in total.
Speaking about the findings, Sustrans Scotland National Director, John Lauder said:
“Bike Life shows that most people living in Glasgow, Stirling and Perth think cycling is a good thing and are far more supportive of bold and ambitious plans for making it realistic and safe cycling than decision-makers often think. It’s clear, people want. They want dedicated space for people on bicycles even when this means taking space away from cars.
“Scottish Government’s doubling of the active travel budget last year to £80million shows that they recognise that cities across Scotland need to be designed around people, not motor vehicles. Investing in cycling and walking is key to keeping their city moving, and improving health and economic vitality.
“There will obviously be differences in the cities, and any improvements must be context-led and designed with local communities, but it is clear that there is an appetite for change.”
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:
“These new reports demonstrate the appetite that exists for more high-quality cycling infrastructure across Scotland. Equally, the reports demonstrate the optimism that people have about the role that cycling can play in improving the quality of our lives in our towns and cities.
“We have doubled the active travel budget to £80m in order to build the right infrastructure in the right place which includes segregated and protected paths. So far, our Community Links programme has delivered 267 miles of walking and cycling paths, which includes 242 miles of completely new infrastructure.
“We are determined to make our towns and cities safer, friendlier and more accessible for those who choose to walk and cycle. We will continue to work in partnership with local authorities and our active travel delivery partners, including Sustrans, to reduce barriers and develop an Active Nation – so that more people can enjoy the benefits of walking and cycling than ever before.”