THE UK’s most comprehensive study of cycling in cities found that eight out of ten people asked in Glasgow (82 per cent) supported building more protected roadside cycle lanes — even when this could mean less space for other traffic.
The Bike Life report, the first of its kind in the city, also found that cycling was seen as the least safe way of travelling around the city with 79 per cent of people thinking that safety needed to be improved.
Run by Sustrans Scotland in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Bike Life is part of a wider piece of research by Sustrans covering 15 cities across the UK, assessing cycling development, attitudes and behaviour.
A representative sample of more than 1,100 residents in Glasgow was interviewed to find out more about cycling habits, satisfaction, and the impact of cycling in the city.
Despite concerns over safety, more than two thirds (67 per cent) reported that more people riding bikes would make Glasgow a better place to live and work whilst over three-quarters (78 per cent) of Glasgow residents said they would like to see more money spent on cycling.
Bike Life calculated that 18.6 million trips were made by bike in Glasgow in the past year, equating to a £62 million benefit to the city based on aspects such as vehicle costs, health, travel time and congestion.
This also means 7,551 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are saved annually, equivalent to the carbon footprint of 1,640 people.
South West City Way cycle route in West Street, Glasgow
Councillor Anna Richardson, city convener for sustainability and carbon reduction, said: “Bike Life Glasgow is a fantastic document that shows how keen the people of Glasgow are for us to continue to build ever more safe, inclusive cycle infrastructure.
“It highlights very clearly the benefits — in terms of health, economy and environment — that come to a city that is dedicated to investing to make cycling safer. These findings will only strengthen our commitment to designing a city that is safe for anyone who wants to cycle.”
Sustrans Scotland national director John Lauder, added: “The message from the Glasgow Bike Life survey is absolutely clear: Glasgow’s residents want to see more people choosing to travel by bike.
“Glasgow City Council can rest assured that they have the backing of the public to build on the work they have already started to enable people to choose healthy, clean and cheap journeys by getting on a bike.”
Dr Paula Regener with her daughter Harriet, fellow cyclist Sian Kingsbury, Councillor Anna Richardson and John Lauder.
Dr Paula Regener, who lives and works in Glasgow, attended the launch of the Bike Life report as she is a keen cyclist.
The 31-year-old researcher at Glasgow University says that the bike is her main mode of transport and, as well as using it to travel round Glasgow, she has recently started taking her young daughter, Harriet, in a trailer with her when on holidays.
Paula says she feels Glasgow has a lot of potential to become a world-leading city where cycling is the way to get around.
“I feel that much more people want to cycle in Glasgow but that there is not enough cycling infrastructure available,” she explained.
“We need segregated cycle paths on all major roads and sheltered cycle parking for people who live in tenement buildings just to name a few things.”
She added: “Now that I have a young daughter, I have become even more aware of the poor air quality on Glasgow’s streets and cannot believe that the city centre is still gridlocked with cars.”