Rebecca Morley 18th May 2020
An ICM poll for Shand Cycles has that found that 17% of commuters are more likely to cycle to work following the COVID-19 outbreak.
If that trend were mapped across the country’s 32 million commuters, it would lead to five and a half million people taking to their bikes. The poll also found on average, commuters are willing to countenance a maximum 29-minute ride to their place of work.
While the upturn in interest in cycling is most pronounced in the south-east of England, with 20% more likely to cycle to work more following lockdown, it is also prominent nationwide, with 18% of commuters in the north of England and Scotland more likely to get to work on two wheels, 15% in Wales and the south-west and 13% in the Midlands.
“Cycling has been one of the few outdoor activities permitted during lockdown and that’s led to a lot of people rediscovering the pleasure of getting on two wheels,” said Ann Ritchie-Cox, general manager of Shand Cycles.
“As the nation goes back to work, social distancing is going to be a huge challenge for those who previously used rush-hour public transport. So all the evidence points to a shift in behaviour towards trying out alternative modes of transport – including the bicycle.
“Commuting by bike is healthy, environmentally friendly and gives you a great sense of having achieved something before you even start your working day. It’s vital that both employers and the Government take steps to make it as safe and comfortable as possible for commuter cyclists.”
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, added: “The huge increase in people cycling during this crisis demonstrates that people will change their travel behaviour and choose to cycle if it feels safe. For many, that means being separated from motor traffic as the roads become busier, otherwise cycling to work won’t look like the natural choice it should be for short journeys.
“It’s about enabling people to cycle not just encouraging, which means local authorities must act immediately to install pop-up cycle lanes and temporary infrastructure that makes cycling a safe, socially distancing alternative for their commute to work.”
The research was commissioned by Livingston-based Shand Cycles, which is part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance. Shand recently launched a limited edition new model, the Leveret, intended to be a cross between a commuter bike and an adventure bike. The Leveret has carbon belt drives, rather than a conventional oil chain, plus high-visibility wheels and mudguards for splash protection.