As more and more people have been cycling over the past months of lockdown, there have been calls for more money to be spent to cater for this increased demand. Many wrote to the county council calling for pop-up bikes lanes and other temporary infrastructure to help those walking and cycling to do so safely.

The following is what Councillor Alan Amos (Cabinet member for Highways) stated in his e-mail response to those who asked him to install ‘pop-up’ cycleways and widen pavements. Its also what he put on the public record at the recent Cabinet meeting and in the Worcester News.

“Our new Worcestershire Passenger Transport Strategy, which was ratified just prior to lockdown, provided very good evidence on how residents move about the county.  One of the key pieces of information was that the number of people who use cycling to access employment, shopping, and education was, at 1% – 2% – exceptionally low, confirming that cycling is generally viewed as a leisure pursuit.”

The key facts from the survey that appear to be relevant are as follows:

  1. This is a survey about public transport. Those who respond are more likely to be public transport users. Its therefore highly unlikely that its a statistical valid survey for determining what proportion of the population cycle or would be prepared to cycle.
  2. 47.6% are over 65
  3. 29.6% have a long term disability
  4. 49.3% are retired
  5. In terms of commuting to work it is highly likely that most wouldn’t because they no longer work and/or couldn’t because they have a long term disability.
  6. Only 36.1% were in employment – 31.5% employed, 4.6% self-employed.
  7. Despite all of the above, when asked ‘What type(s) of transport do you normally use for these journeys?’ the answers for cycling were as follows: Social & Leisure 10%; Shopping & Personal Business 5%; Healthcare (including Medical Appointments) 4%; Education & Training 4%; Employment 8%.
  8. Responses to the question ‘If there was no bus service, how would you travel to …?’ The answers for cycling were: Social & Leisure 1%; Shopping & Personal Business 1%; Healthcare (including Medical Appointments)1%; Education & Training 2%; Employment 2%

To summarise. The figures used by Councillor Alan Amos appear to relate to the percentage of respondents to a bus survey in which a high percentage no longer work have a disability but would still consider cycling if there was no bus service (it is also a loaded question!).

It is therefore totally misleading and inappropriate to use them in the way he did.