Why do people choose not to cycle?
Sharing Road Space (Granville et al., 2001)
- Over two in five (41%) leisure-cyclists and over one quarter (27%) of cycling motorists stated that one of the main problems of using a bicycle was the threat of accidents.
- The deterrents to cycling, summarised by TRL, were “time pressure, stress, aggressive driver behaviour, decline of the nuclear family, personal security fears, out of town shopping, government support for road building, car ownership and British drivers’ ‘ disregard’ for the Highway Code” . The visions of, “harassed, rain-soaked, exhausted individuals negotiating hills and threatened by lorries were powerful images”.
- The media profile of cycling was found to be lower than that of the car, in that it was rarely portrayed as an everyday activity.
(Cavill & Davis, 2008b)
- The real and perceived physical danger posed by motor traffic is one of the main barriers to engaging in cycling
- It is also important to note that the actual risk remains small – amounting to one cyclist death per 33 million kilometres of cycling. It would take the average cyclist 21,000 years to cycle this distance, or, put another way, 21,000 average cyclists would have to cycle for a year before one of them was killed.
- It is more accurate to examine only the risk for distances that can be cycled and not consider the kilometres travelled on motorways, on average the “much safer” kilometres. When they adjusted the data to exclude motorway journeys, they found that the chance of being admitted to hospital following a crash is virtually equal for both modes of transport, but in terms of fatalities per billion kilometres travelled there are nearly twice as many motorists killed as cyclists.
- There is now increasing evidence for the phenomenon of ‘safety in numbers’. Studies suggest that policies leading to increases in the number of people walking or cycling appear to be effective in improving the safety of people using these modes
- The Jacobsen study concluded that: “A motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking and bicycling if more people walk or bicycle. Policies that increase the numbers of people walking and bicycling appear to be an effective route to improving their safety…”
(Royal College of Nursing, 2007)
- One of the barriers to taking up cycling is a perception of the physical danger posed by motor traffic. However, the real risks are minimal and outweighed by the health benefits by a factor of around 20 to 1 (Hillman 1992).
- Being sedentary presents a greater risk: over 50,000 people die in the UK each year from coronary heart disease related to insufficient physical activity, com-pared to around 100 cyclists killed on the road
(Shikaze, 2012) – Creating Bicycle-Friendly Communities
- “In a 2009 poll conducted for the Share the Road cycling coalition (STRCC), 60 percent of Ontarians said they would like to cycle more often. However, they said that the main reason they don’t is that they are “worried about safety on the road.”
(Guarino et al., 2004) - Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Collision Locations in the City of Toronto
- After commuting distance, safety is the most frequently sited reason for not using a bicycle for utilitarian purposes.
(McKeown, 2007) - Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic in Toronto - Problems and Solutions
- Safety concerns are a significant barrier to engaging in walking or cycling:
- A key barrier to engaging in physical activity involves concerns about safety and security. For example, residents will not use a cycle lane or path if they believe it is dangerous.
- A survey shows that 82%ofCanadians have expressed an interest in walking more regularly, and 66% of Canadians have indicated a desire to cycle more, however, safety concerns prevent them from becoming more active.
- Traffic injuries and fatalities from vehicles travelling at high speeds, heavy traffic flow and a lack of separate lanes and paths are key reasons why citizens do not walk or cycle in cities
- Sidewalks and protected areas for walking and cycling can help reduce collisions between vehicles and pedestrians and cyclists
- Many current cyclists, and people who would like to cycle, are also concerned about breathing vehicle emissions on roads with heavy traffic. The closer one is to the tailpipe of vehicles