The UK’s most comprehensive assessment of cycling in cities, Bike Life, has revealed that four out of five people in Inverness (81%) think that more cycle tracks physically separated from traffic would help them to cycle more.
Bike Life Inverness is part of a wider piece of research by Sustrans covering 17 cities across the UK and Ireland, assessing cycling development, attitudes and behaviour in each city.
The report, the first of its kind in Inverness, also found that cycling was the least safe way of travelling around the city.
66% of residents thinking that cycling safety needed to be improved.
The report is run by Sustrans Scotland in partnership with The Highland Council and the Inverness Active Travel Network Programme.
It is part of a wider piece of research by Sustrans covering 17 cities across the UK and Ireland, assessing cycling development, attitudes and behaviour in each city.
A representative sample of 1,452 residents in Inverness was interviewed to find out more about their cycling habits, satisfaction, and the impact of cycling in the city.
Currently, Inverness has 20 miles of traffic-free routes and 52 miles of signposted routes along quieter streets.
However, there are zero miles of cycle track physically segregated from traffic and pedestrians.
Presently a quarter (25%) of residents cycle at least once a week.
The health, social and economic benefits are clear, Bike Life calculated that 3.4 million trips were cycled in Inverness in the past year.
Every day 3,200 return cycle trips are made by people that could have used a car, equating to a £5 million annual benefit to the city based on aspects such as vehicle costs, medical costs and work absenteeism, travel time and congestion.
Despite concerns over safety, 62% of residents agree that more people riding bikes would make the city a better place to live and work.
Just less than three quarters (71%) of Inverness residents think space should be increased for people socialising, cycling and walking on their local high street.
Commenting, Sustrans Scotland Head of Partnerships Kirsty Rankin, said:
“The message from the Inverness Bike Life survey is absolutely clear: residents want to see more people choosing to travel by bike.
“The Highland Council can rest assured that they have the backing of the public to build on the work they have already started to enable people to choose healthy, clean and affordable journeys by getting on a bike.”
Highlands Councillor Trish Robertson (Chair of E&I Committee) said:
“The survey findings are very interesting and will help inform our future planning and decision-making where there are opportunities for the creation of cycling infrastructure in new developments across the Inverness area.
"The interventions planned through the Inverness City Active Travel Network have the potential to encourage people to travel actively.
"Already we have seen significant numbers of pedestrians and cyclists using the new Active Travel bridge at Stoneyfield, proving that there is a demand for more infrastructure.
"Couple that with the active travel elements of the city region deal at the Longman junction and the new East Link, and Inverness is showing the ambition worthy of Scotland’s cycling city."