Public opposition to new bike lanes overestimated by 50 per cent, according to study

Only 29 per cent of people surveyed oppose the creation of new bike lanes

Cycle lane in London (Photo by Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Image credit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Public opposition to new bike lanes is overestimated by 50 per cent, according to a new study.

Research carried out by YouGov on behalf of Cycling UK found that more than half (56 per cent) of people supported government schemes to create new cycle lanes and initiatives to encourage people to walk and cycle more.

Only 19 per cent opposed the creation of new bike lanes, while 10 per cent strongly opposed them.

Meanwhile, when asked whether the public was in favour of these sorts of schemes, 29 per cent of respondents said they thought the general public was opposed to them, while only 33 per cent of people thought the public was supportive of them, compared to the 56 per cent who actually do.

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One reason for opposition is the belief that more bike lanes increase congestion on the roads, but 79 per cent of people surveyed said the amount of vehicle traffic was the primary reason for congestion, while 59 per cent said it was people using their car for short, local journeys.

Only 26 per cent of people thought bike lanes contributed to congestion, just lower than those who thought it was because of an increase in home deliveries (27 per cent).

"Cycling UK is concerned councils’ overestimation of opposition to bike lanes and other means to ensure people can travel safely and children go to school without risk or danger is preventing proper analysis of the evidence. But too many councils are overestimating the opposition to these schemes and overlooking the evidence," Cycling UK's head of campaigns Duncan Dollimore said.

"In recent months Cycling UK has seen multiple reports of people claiming there is widespread opposition to the building of new bike lanes, but this and other surveys shows there’s nothing widespread about it – just a small number of loud voices. This survey shows people clearly want safer, cleaner streets where they feel confident their children can play and exercise without the threat of danger, but they overestimate public opposition to bike lanes massively."

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