Despite ongoing investment in sustainable transport with Transport for London’s new Cycling Action Plan, Londoners find that the city is not currently designed well for cycling.
Concerns around taking up a bicycle versus a car focus on safety, as new research highlights only one in ten (14%) of Londoners feel totally confident that the cycle paths in the city are safe.
A survey across 25 European cities with 7,500 respondents finds that London ranks poorly internationally for cycling safety. With ongoing concerns for safety, over eight in ten (83%) Londoners feel safer driving rather than cycling, compared to just two in ten (22%) in Copenhagen and Amsterdam (16%) stating they would feel safer in a car.
In terms of road safety, nearly half of Londoners (45%) ultimately would not recommend people to come and live in the city, if they are concerned about dangerous traffic. This contrasts to Warsaw, Vienna and Oslo where seven in ten (68%) residents would recommend residency based on transport.
Paths to improvement
In the context of highlighted challenges, Londoners have identified three key areas to address to make roads safer and more appealing for cycling. These three areas centre around traffic control, improved visibility and cycling space allocation.
Four in ten (41%) of Londoners believe that better separation for vehicles on roads would improve safety, with three in ten (31%) saying that reduced speed limits would also help.
In London, structural challenges have been identified around cycling, with nearly half (41%) stating that lack of street light cover impacts their confidence to cycle.
Three in ten (28%) also believe clearer traffic signs and improved cycling paths are needed to make roads safer. In addition to this, one in ten (14%) have also expressed favour for banning cars completely from the city centre, transforming central spaces into pedestrianised zones. There is also growing sentiment for banning cars from the city centre in Paris (20%) and Amsterdam (25%).
Elizabeth Evans, Sales Manager UK, Cyclomedia said: “We’re getting a clear picture from data that the complexity of transport environments in London means overall safety for cycling is impacted. With mounting concerns for hazardous situations and potential road accidents, it’s vital to take a look at infrastructure and road design first.
“For Londoners, improving road safety and creating more convenient routes to travel will help generate confidence in cycling. Exploring sustainable modes of transport is becoming increasingly important to tackle challenges around air quality and traffic congestion. Necessary design changes, around traffic control, improved visibility and cycling space allocation at the street level, can be enacted through strategy from local authorities and Government.”