AA Populus Panel

Cycling motorists - 18% of drivers cycle at least once a month

14 July 2008

Eighteen per cent of motorists get on their bikes and cycle to get from A to B at least once a month, according to the latest results from the AA/Populus Panel of 18,500 members1. Leading the AA to question whether two wheels could take some of the pain out of the record fuel prices at the pumps.

However, 64 per cent say they never use the bicycle as a form of transport and 19 per cent cycle only once or twice a year or less.

Unsurprisingly cycling is most favoured in flat and relatively dry East Anglia where 24 per cent say they cycle at least once a month with the South and South-West next popular at 20 per cent. Least popular areas with members for cycling (those who cycle once or twice a year or less) are N Ireland 88 per cent, and Wales 87 per cent with Scotland, Central and West Midlands, North West and Yorkshire and Humberside all at 85 per cent.

When it comes to sex, cycling is definitely a male thing with 21 per cent of men cycling at least once a month against 12 per cent of women. In fact over three times as many men cycle daily compared to women. Seventy six per cent of the over 65's say they never cycle.

Frequency of cycling to get from A to B

(Among all AA members surveyed)

  • 64% never cycle
  • 10% cycle once or twice a year
  • 8% cycle once or twice a month
  • 8% cycle less than once a year
  • 6% cycle at least once a week
  • 3% cycle daily

Cycling AA Patrols

AA cycle patrols Even the AA is taking to push bikes as Wimbledon tennis fans saw two weeks ago as AA patrols turned up to fix broken down cars – on bicycles. Due to congestion the AA has launched a new team of cycle-based breakdown patrols to tackle traffic chaos at big events.

The AA bikes will go on to target hard-to-reach breakdowns at other sports events, concerts and festivals throughout the summer. Pushbikes are the next step in a new 'two-wheeled' strategy at the AA, following the reintroduction of motorbikes to tackle congestion and emissions in London.

AA Comment

Commenting on the findings, Edmund King, AA President said: "With fuel prices at record levels we expect to see more people getting on their bikes for some trips – though it is clear from these findings that topography, the weather, age and sex may play a major role in who chooses to cycle.

"Car drivers need to think more about cyclists and not open car doors without looking or turn left without checking for a bike on the inside. Cyclists have to stop running red lights and avoid the temptation to cycle on pavements or up one way streets.

"To encourage cycling we need to see more comprehensive cycle lanes, secure cycle parking, shower facilities at work and more cycle training.

"The AA is harnessing the manoeuvrability of two wheels where this means quicker service to members. Wimbledon was the first outing for AA cycles, but they will be a regular sight at big events throughout the year.

"We also have hard evidence that the record fuel prices at the pumps are hitting home as our AA/Populus poll shows that 64% have either cut back on journeys, cut back on other expenditure or done both. If fuel prices continue to escalate more of us will have to get on our bikes".

Regional breakdown

  • London
    18% cycle once a month or more,
    82% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • South
    20% cycle once a month or more,
    80% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • South West
    20% cycle once a month or more,
    80%
    cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • Wales
    13% cycle once a month or more,
    87% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • East Midlands
    18% cycle once a month or more,
    82% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • East Anglia
    24% cycle once a month or more,
    76%
    cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • Yorkshire & Humberside
    15% cycle once a month or more,
    85% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • North West
    15% cycle once a month or more,
    85% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • North East
    18% cycle once a month or more,
    82% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • Central &West Midlands
    15% cycle once a month or more,
    85% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • Scotland
    15% cycle once a month or more,
    85% cycle once or twice a year, less or never
  • Northern Ireland
    12% cycle once a month or more,
    88% cycle once or twice a year, less or never

Factfile

Cycle deaths for 2007 were 136 compared to 146 in 2006. In 2007 the number of cyclists seriously injured rose by 6 per cent to 2,428. The total casualties among pedal cyclists remained at the same level as 2006.

The AA Populus panel is the biggest dedicated motoring panel in the UK.

1Populus received 18,547 responses from AA members to its online poll between May 23 and 2 June 2008. The AA/Populus panel has more than 30,000 members.

AA Public Affairs

 

14 July 2008