Survey: 5% believe cyclists should be banned from Irish roads

Road woes: Three in five against more cycle lanes due to concerns around road safety and traffic disruption, according to new Aviva research

One in twenty (5%) believe cyclists should be banned from Irish roads

The public appetite for more cycle lanes, particularly in urban areas, is muted to say the least with almost three in five people (59%) voicing their opposition to moves to allocate more road space to cyclists at the expense of drivers. However, 41% continue to support this trend, although 17% see a danger that they will go too far.  For those against additional space for cyclists, the main concern cited was the narrowing of road space for drivers, particularly in urban areas, making it dangerous for motorists and cyclists alike amongst 25% of respondents.  Others said that not enough planning has gone into it (20%), and it is causing disruption to drivers, with 9% saying that cyclists have too much space now.  Some 5% believe that cyclists should be banned. 

These are the findings of a new survey of 1,000 people nationwide carried out by iReach Insights on behalf of Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC (Aviva) which also found that cycling is the most common mode of transport for just one in 20 (5%) of those surveyed. Unsurprisingly, cars are the most common mode of transport at 77%, followed by walking amongst 35% of respondents, and public transport at 31%.

While it is important that we continue to advocate for the removal of cars from urban areas in order to lower carbon emissions and decrease air pollution, we must do so in a planned and safe way for all concerned. While substantial sums of government money have been allocated to local authorities for walking and cycling infrastructure this year, it is clear that not everyone supports the introduction of more cycle lanes in urban areas. There are also clear public concerns around road safety in this regard. One in four (25%) of the people we asked felt that the narrowing of road space for drivers in order to create more cycle lanes is making road travel dangerous for both cyclists and motorists.

Billy Shannon, Aviva

Despite the increased popularity of cycling in recent years, our survey found that only a small percentage of the population use bicycles as one of their primary modes of transport. So, while cycling has benefits for people’s physical health and the environment, it is evident that people are looking for a more balanced and better planned approached to allocating more space to cycle lanes on busy urban roads, particularly where they believe these lanes could be at the expense of drivers, pedestrians, and road safety.

Interestingly, far fewer people in Dublin (66%) than Connacht/Ulster (91%) selected the car as one of their most commonly used modes of transport. This is perhaps linked to the lack of infrastructure and public transport offerings in many rural locations where it is a reality that a car is still absolutely essential for many people in order for them to go about their daily lives” concluded Billy Shannon.

Other highlights from the Aviva survey include:

  • Less than half (41%) of people believe there should be more space on Irish roads for cycle lanes but a significant portion (17%) of these say there’s a danger that any moves in this regard would go too far.
  • Support for more space for cyclists is highest among 25-34-year-olds, with 54% in favour of increased allocation for cyclists, although 18% of them see a danger that it may go too far.
  • Almost one in ten (9%) believe cyclists are already getting too much space now, particularly in main urban areas.
  • While overall 5% of people think cyclists should be banned, this increased to 11% when people in Dublin were asked.
  • Women are more inclined than men to use a car (82% v 72%), while men are more likely to use public transport (34% v 28%).

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