In the UK’s biggest assessment on cycling in cities, three out of four people in Bristol (77%) want more protected bike routes built to make cycling safer, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.
Bike Life, produced by Sustrans, walking and cycling charity, and Bristol City Council, reveals that out of 1,100 residents surveyed, over two-thirds (71%) say more cycling would make their city a better place to live and work. Overall, residents in Bristol think more space for walking, cycling or buses, as opposed to additional space for cars, is the best way to keep their city moving, improve people’s health and air quality.
Currently, a quarter of Bristolians cycle at least five times a week. 65%of those surveyed say they would cycle more if on-road cycle lanes were physically separated from both traffic and pedestrians. Even people who said they never ride a bike still overwhelmingly support the provision of protected bike routes (77%).
Bike Life found that people riding a bike currently take up to 24,515 cars off Bristol’s roads each day. If these cars were lined up this would equate to a 73-mile tailback – a space of over five Castle Parks.
Whilst more than half (54%) of people think Bristol is a good place to ride a bike overall, only 29% of the residents surveyed think cycling safety in Bristol is good. And 72% would like to see more money spent on cycling.
James Cleeton, England Director South said:
“Bike Life shows that people in Bristol think cycling is a good thing and are supportive of bold and ambitious plans for cycling. They want dedicated space for people on bicycles even when this means taking space away from cars.
“From Mexico City to Manchester, mayors around the world are waking up to the fact that their cities need to be designed around people, not motor vehicles and that investing in cycling is key to keeping their city moving, and improving health and economic vitality.
“In Bristol, we have a higher proportion of women who cycle than in the other Bike Life cities (40%), which indicates the growing culture and improved infrastructure to support cycling. However, there is more work to be done. We call on governments at all levels to work together to meet people’s needs by investing in protected routes that make cycling across our cities attractive, safe and convenient.”
Cllr Mhairi Threlfall, Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
“These are great results for Bristol and show that we are making the right decisions when it comes to planning the city’s transport for the future.
“We are working to make sure people have safer routes in to the city to encourage even more people to take up cycling using money from central government’s Cycling Ambition fund. These reach all the way to the outer suburbs of the city and include the creation of several protected routes. We are also helping our urban communities by offering on street parking facilities for communities with four new ‘bike hangars’ already installed around the city and several others waiting to be introduced.
“Cycling is a key part of our strategy to try and combat Bristol’s problems with congestion and the problems that cities around the country are facing with poor air quality. We are lucky in Bristol to have some of the highest levels of cycling of any major core city, however, we know that this is not a solution that is going to work for everyone. As part of the Mayor's Congestion Task Group, we are looking at how we can improve people’s travel throughout the city and are developing a transport plan that works for everyone to make sure Bristol has the infrastructure to remain open for business and enterprise long into the future.”
Bike Life reports every two years on infrastructure, travel habits, satisfaction and the impact of cycling more widely in seven major UK cities: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester and Newcastle. The information in Bike Life 2017 comes from local data, modelling and an independent ICM survey with a representative sample of around 1,100 residents aged 16+ in each city.
Bike Life mirrors the Copenhagen Bicycle Account which outlines the development in cycling, identifies challenges and informs planning. The Danish capital of Copenhagen is the most-bicycle friendly city in the world with investment since 2004 of over £35 per head on cycling and a network of protected cycle routes on almost all main roads and bridges across the city. In 2016, 41% of trips to work and education in the city were made by bike, and 76% of Copenhagener’s feel secure when cycling.
It is hoped that similar levels of cycling can be achieved in time in the seven cities, with Bike Life informing decision making and investment. Currently, there’s huge variation in active travel spending in cities across the UK.
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