Sustrans Bike Life assessment highlights overwhelming desire for segregated space

Cycling in Birmingham city centre Photoshoot for Bike Life

Bike Life, the UK’s biggest assessment of cycling in cities, has revealed that four out of five people (78%) want more protected bike routes on roads built to make cycling safer, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.

Bike Life, produced by Sustrans and seven major UK cities, indicates  that out of the 7,700 people surveyed over two-thirds (69%) say more cycling would make their city a better place to live and work. Most residents interviewed think that more space for cycling and walking or buses, as opposed to more space for cars, is the best way to keep their city moving, improve people’s health or air quality.

Sixty four per cent would cycle more if on-road cycle routes physically separated from traffic and pedestrians were available. Even people who said they never ride a bike still overwhelmingly support the provision of segregated routes (74%), even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.

However, currently a total of just 19 miles of cycle routes on roads, physically separated from traffic and pedestrians exist in six of the seven cities (excluding Birmingham where no data is available).

Out of the 7,700 people surveyed over two-thirds (69%) say more cycling would make their city a better place to live and work.

Furthermore, only 30% of residents interviewed think cycling safety in their city is good. And three-quarters (75%) support more investment in cycling.

Bike Life also found that people cycling in the seven cities take up to 111,564 cars off our roads each day. If these cars were lined up this would equate to a 333 mile tailback – a distance greater than from Cardiff to Newcastle.

Xavier Brice, CEO for Sustrans said: “Bike Life shows that most people living in these seven cities think cycling is a good thing and are far more supportive of bold and ambitious plans for cycling than decision-makers often think. They want dedicated space for people on bicycles even when this means taking space away from cars.

“From Mexico City to Manchester, city leaders around the world are waking up to the fact that their cities need to be designed around people, not motor vehicles and that investing in cycling and walking is key to keeping their city moving, and improving health and economic vitality.

“At a time of falling funding for cycling in the UK – outside of London and Scotland – we call on governments at all levels to work together to meet people’s needs by investing in segregated routes that make cycling across our cities attractive, safe and convenient.”

Chris Boardman, British Cycling Policy adviser and now Greater Manchester’s first Cycling and Walking Commissioner, said: “Evidence has shown us time and again that the world’s happiest and healthiest cities all have high cycling rates in common. It’s no coincidence, cycling really is the silver bullet.

“More people using bikes instead of cars would address so many of the problems our urban centres face – health, congestion, air quality, social inclusion…you name it, more cycling will have a positive impact on it.

“Greater Manchester is determined to become one of the most attractive city regions in the world and, in pursing that aim, it’s great to see through Bike Life the vast majority of our residents want us to prioritise making cycling a safe and attractive thing for them to do.”

For more information and respective city Bike Life reports visit

Click to open the Sustrans Bike Life Summary 2017 Report


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