by Marcus Leach
Does the government invest enough in cycling? It's an ongoing debate, and it shows no signs of letting up anytime soon if the latest opinion poll is anything to go by.
A YouGov poll of 2,025 adults across Great Britain not only found that the majority feel the government should be investing more in cycling, but that also over a quarter would think more positively of an electoral candidate who campaigned for cycling. Take note Mr Cameron.
It is painfully obvious from the research that if more was done to increase safety for cyclists, then more people would in turn take to two wheels. Almost a third of respondents would be more likely to travel by bike if more cycle lanes were separated from traffic on busy roads and over a third said they don’t cycle more because it is too dangerous.
The fear of road danger seems to be the number one reason people are not taking to their bikes, and it is something the government has the power to change. Sustrans, who commissioned the survey, says that it's evidence cycling could be an electoral issue, and that the Infrastructure Bill currently making its way through Parliament must be amended to include cycling.
"Being able to get about by bike has become a serious issue for the British voter; candidates looking for success in the coming general election would do right to recognise this," Claire Francis, head of campaigns at Sustrans said.
"Despite these new figures, the Infrastructure Bill, which the government hopes to make law by March, is set to deliver the biggest shake up to the roads network in a generation, yet has no strategy for cycling.
"We must change the Infrastructure Bill’s narrow focus on motor traffic and invest in cycling to extend travel choice, to ease congestion, improve our health and our environment.
"The cross-party amendment being proposed for this bill would provide a great opportunity to guarantee long term funding and ensure much safer cycling for everyone, whilst securing support from voters."
What seems to be encouraging is that, according to a separate survey, just over fifty percent of those questioned would support cycling infrastructure investment even if it mean less would be spent on things that benefit other road users.
The debate is far from over, but it's clear that people want changes, the question now is will the government deliver what the people want?
Photo Credit: Sustrans