One-fifth of Britons are weighing up commuting to work by bicycle, as the UK prepares for an influx of new cyclists taking to its roads.
The Government has invested £2bn into a new scheme to encourage more people to avoid public transport and take up cycling and walking, including the creation of thousands of miles of protected cycles routes and overhauling the Highway Code to better protect both cyclists and pedestrians.
Despite greater numbers of people expressing an interest in life on two wheels, with sales of bikes reaching levels normally only seen at Christmas time during lockdown, half of adults said they worried about traffic on busy roads, rising to 55 per cent among Londoners.
Research from Network Rail and charity Cycling UK, which questioned 2,086 people, found a further 22 per cent were concerned their bike would be damaged or stolen, while another 15 per cent were unsure about the availability of secure bike storage facilities near their work.
In a bid to help uneasy would-be cyclists on their journeys, the companies have collaborated on an online journey planner to help users plot a cycle-friendly route between train stations and information detailing safer routes along quieter roads.
Network Rail also offers storage for 5,000 bicycles at its 20 managed stations across the UK, including Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly and London Waterloo.
Railway stations are among the prime targets for bike theft, with the number of bicycles stolen from station property rising from 4,500 in 2016-17 to 6,400 during 2018-19 – an increase of around 42 per cent.
“With more people taking up cycling and considering using it as part of their journey back to the workplace, we wanted to let them know that our stations offer lots of convenient storage space for them to leave their bikes,” said David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property.
Cycling minister Chris Heaton-Harris said the government had set out a “revolutionary plan to transform attitudes around cycling, focused on creating a healthier and more active country”.
“This important partnership will provide practical support and guidance, as well as confidence that they can safely store their bikes at stations, helping people make a positive change.”
Author: Rhiannon Williams
Disclaimer: This article was not originally written by a member of the Safer Highways team.