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Study Suggests Lack of Suitable Roads Discourages People from Cycling

A new study suggests a lack of suitable roads discourages people from cycling in rural areas. 

According to researcher Jemma King, a survey of 1200 people found that two-thirds of the respondents who didn’t cycle at all cited safety concerns as their main reason. 

King says, the respondents who lived in rural areas were quick to point out the lack of safe roads as their main reason for not cycling.

“Rural Urban residents were more likely to cite environmental concerns and preference for other modes of transport or exercise as reasons they had not cycled. Environmental reasons include such things as unmarked roads, high speed limits and just the sheer distances involved in rural travel.”

“Environmental factors appear to be inhibiting cycling participation in rural areas. Government funding for infrastructure development that supports safe cycling across rural areas including outside of metropolitan areas is something that should be looked at,” she added. 

King says, the ideal transportation model would involve infrastructure that separates cyclists from motorized vehicles.

Key findings:

  • Cyclists in the sample were predominately male (61.3%), employed full time (53%) and had high levels of education (52.6%).
  • Concerns for safety (14.3%) and environmental concerns including a terrain or lack of suitable ‘bicycle friendly’ areas to ride (9.1%) were two other reasons that non-cyclists indicated as influencing their decision not to ride.
  • For more than half of cyclists, the usual cycling duration was over 30 minutes.
  • Compared with those cycling for less than 30 minutes, cyclists who cycled for over 30 minutes more frequently reported excellent health, cycled as part of a sport, had 15 or more years education, and lived in urban areas.
  • Only 7.6% of cyclists reported cycling more than 182 hours per year.
  • Non-cyclists were typically 55 years of age or older, had no other reported physical activity, had strong religious beliefs and a body mass index above a healthy range.
  • Cyclists were typically male, engaged in physical activity, believed bicycle injuries were preventable and self-reported ‘not good’ mental health at least one day in the past month.

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