Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents from the latest National Travel Attitudes Study (NTAS) have said they would support the introduction of more dedicated cycle lanes, even to the detriment of space on the road for cars.
In the fifth wave of surveying, the Department for Transport (DfT) quizzed 2,554 individuals aged over 16 across England on barriers to active travel and attitudes towards e-bikes.
Similar to the trends displayed in Wave 4, Wave 5 respondents reported substantially decreased usage of all travel modes compared to before the pandemic with the exception of the active travel modes walking and cycling.
Off-road and segregated cycle paths (55%), safer roads (53%) and well-maintained road surfaces for cycling (49%) were chosen most often when Wave 5 respondents (who didn’t state that cycling is impossible for them due to their disability) were asked about things that would encourage them to cycle more.
Over half said they feel confident when riding a bicycle (58%), with 78% of men saying they feel more often confident, compared with 43% of women.
Of those respondents who didn’t feel confident about their cycling skills, 14% displayed interest in attending a cycle training course. Interest was highest in the age group 35-44 (29%).
Just over half of respondents (51%) agreed that e-bikes are too expensive, with only 4% disagreeing with the statement. Nearly two in three indicated they know “very little” about e-bikes.
Those respondents who had stated that safer roads would encourage them to cycle more were offered a follow-up question in which they were asked how important they consider four different aspects of safer roads.
Nearly all respondents (98%) stated that more considerate drivers are either very important or fairly important in that regard.
Less traffic (88%) and slower driving speeds (86%) were also marked as important by a large proportion of the sample.
‘More roads where cars are banned or restricted for part of, or all of the time’ was considered important by two-thirds of the sample.
Likewise, respondents who had stated that secure parking or storage might encourage them to cycle more were asked about the importance of different aspects of secure storage.
All four offered options, namely secure bicycle parking provision or storage at home (89%), at work (87%), at stations (87%) and on-street (84%) were considered important by a large proportion of those respondents who were asked this question.
Respondents who did not own an e-bike were asked if certain incentives would encourage them to use or buy an e-bike.
A substantial share stated that initiatives that make buying an e-bike more affordable either in the form of a direct discount (43%) or lower taxes on the cost of buying an e-bike (31%) would be most likely to encourage them to consider buying one.
Free opportunities to try riding an e-bike either in a traffic-free environment (40%) or in the form of a free loan of an e-bike for one month (32%) were equally popular.
Discounts on hiring an e-bike for the day (20%) and car scrappage schemes to help pay for an e-bike purchase (9%) were selected by fewer respondents. Two in five of respondents stated that none of these options would encourage them to consider using or buying an e-bike.
The full Wave 5 study results can be viewed here.