90% of journeys were completed on roads across Britain in 2014. On these roads, 83% of journeys were undertaken in a car, van or taxi – covering more than 600 billion kilometres over the course of the year.
Only 1% of the total number of vehicles used on our roads were accounted for by bicycles in 2014, which is a 13% decrease in cycle use since 1952 when the official figure stood at 14%.
Cyclists are diminishing on our roads, as this 60-year trend appears to suggest, and more often than not, means that their safety can be overlooked when the distance travelled by car or van has increased by over 1,000%.
Together with True Solicitors, specialists in bicycle accident claims, we evaluate how safe our roads really are when it comes to cycling, and whether this relates to the small number of cyclists compared to other forms of transport throughout the UK.
The British picture
The British Social Attitudes 2015 survey claimed that of those over the age of 18, 1.5 million people cycled on a daily basis, which accounts for 3% of the people surveyed.
Contrasted by 69% of those surveyed, 34 million suggested that they had never cycled. This is as a direct result of the clear lack of cyclists across the UK more generally. However, by analysing individual countries within the UK, the idea that Britain is uninclined to use a bicycle as a form of transport of our roads becomes clearer.
The Active People Survey, surveying over 16s between 2014 and 2015, has suggested that 3% cycled five times a week (1.3 million) — less than the national average. The survey also found that 15% cycled at least once per month, which equates to 6.6 million people.
This suggests that cyclists are choosing to use their bikes within a leisure capacity – as opposed to using them as a form of transport– which forms a correlation with the nature of cycling accidents throughout the UK.
Of those surveyed over the age of 16, 6% claimed that they cycled 1 – 2 times a day in 2014-15; this is a similar figure to the 3% in England who cycled five times a week.
Of the total number of people surveyed, those in Scotland were still 10% below the overall figure – similar to England and Wales. As a means of transport, 3% of people aged over 16 used a bicycle 1 – 2 days a week. 2% used one 3 -5 days a week, and only 1% used a bicycle nearly every day of the week.
The evidence suggests then that there is an unwillingness to use cycling as a reliable everyday form of transport, however, is this because of the hazards the average cyclist could face on our roads on a daily basis? For Britain to be willing to use cycling more enthusiastically as an everyday form of transport, perhaps the safety of our roads needs to be improved first.