Data shows social divide when it comes to cycling

More needs to be done to reduce everyday car journeys, make it safer to cycle and increase secure bike storage in the Capital.

That’s according to the charity Sustrans, who has released the findings of a survey into the attitudes towards cycling of more than 1,100 people living in Tower Hamlets.

The BikeLife survey highlights a social divide when it comes to cycling, with 91% of respondents who are not in employment or in semi-skilled and unskilled occupations saying they never cycle.

Residents less likely to cycle regularly also include women, people aged over 46 years, people from ethnic minorities and disabled people, according to the survey.

In terms of what stops people from cycling, more than half (52%) of respondents cited safety concerns, while 53% said they would like to see more traffic-free cycle routes.

Matt Winfield, Sustrans England director, said: “Our data shows the enormous gap that women, people from ethnic minorities and lower-income households face in their transport choices.

“Much more has to be done to make it easy for everyone to get about by bike. It simply isn’t fair for anyone to feel excluded due to worries about safety and facilities.

“Now, the people of Tower Hamlets have told us that feeling safe is a vital part of helping them choose to cycle.

“Cycling has the potential to reduce social and economic isolation. It could help people in less well-off areas access greater employment opportunities, healthcare and other everyday services.”

Findings will help shape policies in Tower Hamlets
John Biggs, mayor of Tower Hamlets, says the report contains valuable information – which will help to shape future policy in the borough.

Mr Biggs said: “We want to make Tower Hamlets one of the most cycle-friendly boroughs in London.

“We’ve worked in partnership with Sustrans on this report which contains valuable data to help us shape our policies to achieve this.

“It shows there are particular groups where take-up is lower including those on lower incomes, women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds.

“Cycling is a relatively cheap and quick way of getting around as well as reducing carbon emissions and improving our air quality.

“We know people have to feel safe while cycling on our streets and are working with TfL on developing new cycle routes as well as investing in safer roads through our Liveable Streets programme so residents can get on two wheels to get around.”

06 March 2020