Southampton cycling campaigners have welcomed the results of an exclusive Daily Echo poll – but say there is a long road to travel.
More than 1,000 people responded to the online cycling survey and 56 per cent agreed that far more needs to be done to encourage people to get on their bikes.
But more than one-third agreed that ‘Roads are for cars, not bikes. Cyclists are a nuisance and get enough special treatment.’ And the statement, ‘Enough is done already for cyclists’ attracted nine per cent of the votes (119 people).
The poll follows a parliamentary debate in Westminster last week on cycling safety, which was triggered by growing national pressure over the dangers faced by the UK’s cyclists.
Southampton Cycling Campaign spokesman Dilys Gartside said that more than half of voters think more should be done to get people on two wheels is “enormously encouraging”.
“This poll certainly reflects a change in attitude towards cycling,” she said. “If you went back even a decade that figure would probably have been about 20 per cent.”
With many people striving to own their own car in the 1960s and 1970s, Dilys says the bicycle became a symbol of a lack of prosperity.
“Up until the mid-1990s, I would say, the attitude was that if you cycled, you were either a little bit mad, you were poor or there was something a bit peculiar about you.”
She adds: “Now a lot of the top professionals in all walks of life are cycling to work and it’s seen as an admirable thing.” Although she says the poll also shows there is still a lot of work to be done to change attitudes.
Last week, politicians packed into Westminster Hall to urge the Department for Transport to take action on safer cycling.