A couple of us rode out to March on Saturday to see the Cambridgeshire Festival of Cycling event. We’re going to be running at a stall at similar events in Soham and Ely in a few weeks so we thought we’d go and check out what we’d got ourselves into.
The event was in a car park round the back of the town centre and was quite well attended, with several bike related activities.
One thing that caught my eye was a kind of survey they had set up. Big boards had a question across the top and possible answers on the board. Each visitor was given a strip of stickers to place on the answers that they agreed with.
Three answers struck home
“What would help you cycle more?”
“safe cycle routes”
Notice there are options for training, maps and specialist venues (a BMX track) but the one with the most votes is safe routes.
Build them and they will come.
“What best sums up your view of cycling?”
“it’s for other people not me”
This one caught my eye because nobody had chosen it. Cyclists aren’t oddballs in lycra their normal people just like me and you.
Another unpopular choice was an answer that said “it’s not safe”.
“I’d like to cycle more but I don’t because”
“the roads are too busy or too dangerous”
Over and over again this comes out, people don’t want to cycle on busy and dangerous roads.
Note here it’s the roads that are seen as dangerous not cycling itself.
This is obviously a tiny cross-section and I have chosen specific answers (although they did stand out) but they do back up what we are trying to get the councillors to take on board.
People do want to cycle but they are put off by the busy and dangerous roads. What they want is safe cycle routes. If there was a network of segregated cycle routes people would use them.