Campaigners have seized on new statistics showing that Government promises of increased cycling and walking are failing to materialise, partly because three in five people do not feel safe cycling on the roads.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has published its Walking and Cycling Statistics, England: 2017, which show that the number of cycling stages remained at a similar level to previous years at an average of 18 trips per person.
However, the average number of miles cycled increased during the year.
Conversely, while the average number of walking stages per person per year increased, the distance travelled remained at similar levels to previous years.
The document points out that stages, which include trips where cycling is one of a number of forms of travel, are the main metric for one of the objectives in the DfT’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS).
This sets an ‘aim’ to double the annual number of cycling stages from 0.8 billion in 2013 to 1.6 billion in 2025.
The new statistics show that 62% of adults in England agreed that ‘it is too dangerous for me to cycle on the roads’. Women were more likely to agree than men (69% to 56%).
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, called for the Government to publish the findings of its CWIS consultation on cycle and pedestrian safety and take immediate action.
He said: ‘Although cycling is statistically much safer than many people think, it’s clear the Government has to address the key issues of infrastructure, such as improving roads and cycle lanes, and making sure our traffic laws operate effectively to promote road safety for everyone.’
AA president Edmund King said the number of people feeling it is too dangerous to cycle on the roads was ‘perhaps unsurprising due to the dreadful state of our local highways’.
He said: ‘Government is very keen to encourage people to use active transport for short journeys, but with a road infrastructure riddled with potholes people are simply not willing to run the risk.’
Mr King added: ‘As at least 22 deaths and 368 serious injuries of cyclists have occurred where potholes and poor roads maintenance are a factor, we believe politicians at all levels should be doing all they can to rectify these avoidable casualties.’