Plea for roads to be safer for cyclists

One in 11 people in Wigan cycle at least once a week, figures show, but many more would if they weren't so worried about safety on our roads.

Monday, 10th September 2018, 12:00 pm
Updated Monday, 10th September 2018, 12:06 pm
An artists impression of the planned new cycle lanes at The Saddle junction. It was revealed this week that more Wiganers would cycle each week if they felt safer on the roads

The Department for Transport has just released the results of an annual survey, which reveals how often people cycle in England.

In Wigan there were 1,151 respondents, who answered questions about their travel habits between November 2016 and November 2017.

Of those, nine per cent said they cycled at least once a week. This is below the England average of 12 per cent.

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Cycling is becoming more popular in Wigan. The survey suggests 19 per cent more people are cycling at least once a week, compared with 2015-16.

Out of the respondents, five per cent were keen cyclists and used their bike at least three times a week.

The survey found cycling for leisure was more popular than for travel, with seven per cent of people cycling at least once a week for fun, while four per cent commuted by bike.

Nationally, the number of cyclists has not increased over the last year.

Xavier Brice, chief executive of Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, said: “It is disappointing to see levels of cycling have not changed nationally or regionally compared to previous years.

“Cities with well-established cycling cultures, such as Cambridge and Oxford, unsurprisingly record the highest prevalence for cycling at least once a week.

“This confirms what is already widely known – that good quality cycling infrastructure combined with behaviour change programmes is responsible for increased cycling uptake.

“Protected cycling infrastructure also helps break down a barrier for those people who don’t cycle because of safety reasons, a number one concern according to the data.”

The charity Cycling UK appealed to ministers to make cycling attractive to everybody, and not “just a small segment of society”.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “We are carrying out a review to look at ways of improving all elements of cycle safety.

“We are also investing £1.7bn through the Transforming Cities Fund, to connect communities and support active and sustainable travel.”

Wigan has a lower proportion of cyclists than the North West does on average.

This week it was revealed that Mobike is pulling out of Manchester – making it the first city to lose the bike-sharing firm as a result of vandalism and theft.

Mobike confirmed it is ‘suspending’ the dockless scheme, with the withdrawal of an estimated 2,000 bikes already in progress just 13 months after the scheme’s launch.

It comes after bosses made a ‘final plea’ in August for a minority in the city to stop stealing and vandalising their bikes – or face losing the scheme ‘within weeks’.