Britain's anti-cycling sentiment tops global transport poll

Brits most likely to be against the idea of riding a bike, of 12 countries and 13,000 people surveyed

Cycling in an urban setting
(Image credit: Future)

Britons' attitude towards cycling has been shown up as the worst of 12 countries in a new international survey conducted by YouGov.

Forty-five per cent of Britons surveyed had a negative view of travelling by bike, as opposed to the 80% of Poles who favoured the two-wheeled transport, according to the survey by the international data and analytics group.

It's worth underlining that YouGov was not surveying opinions on cyclists, but on cycling as a mode of transport. Cycling Weekly has reported on numerous reasons why Brits might be put off using the bike, with danger and perceived danger from traffic often coming out on top.

Perhaps surprisingly, walking came out on top for Brits, with 82% having a favourable view of shanks's pony. Less surprisingly, travel by car came runner-up, with 76% of Brits enjoying travelling as a passenger and 68% driving.

The 12 countries covered in the survey were largely European, but stretched all the way around the world: Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Poland, USA, Canada, Australia and Singapore, and involved more than 13,000 respondents, including 1,999 Brits.

Interestingly, while opinions on cycling varied significantly – from Britain's 48% against to Poland's 80% for – walking received generally positive responses. Even in the USA, which registered the lowest favourable opinion of getting around on foot, nearly three-quarters of people (74%) felt positive towards the idea. Conversely, USA respondents also had the lowest positive views on using the bus (32%), subway (35%), coach (39%) and train (59%). With walking not always easy in the USA, you might also have expected its respondents to have the highest opinion of driving a car, and indeed it was high at 77% positive. But Australians ranked highest here with 81% of respondents in favour of the idea.

As well as being poorly disposed towards the idea of riding a bike, the Brits also had the lowest opinion of coach travel of all those surveyed, with 48% giving it the thumbs-down. Conversely, 65% of Brits said they had a positive opinion of train travel (and 28% negative), while 56% gave the nod to travelling by plane (34% negative).

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