BITS survey confirms the growing popularity of cycling

08 September 2020 - Published by Matteo Candelari

Over 7000 inhabitants completed the BITS survey, which was launched last spring among the inhabitants of the participating BITS cities and regions. Our survey results provide insight into people’s cycling behavior, as well as in their perceived motivations and barriers for cycling. After a sneak peek in the previous BITS newsletter, we are delighted to lay down more information with respect to the outcomes of the survey.

In accordance with what has been stated in the previous BITS newsletter, there is no doubt that we should get on a bike – whether it is just for fun, to keep in shape, to boost our health, or for environmental choices. Although motivation is an important predictor of cycling, it seems important to keep track of -who succeeds to put those motivations into practice.

Who regularly goes for a ride?

Overall, the results of the BITS survey have demonstrated that cycling is a popular activity, with over 75% of respondents that have labelled themselves as ‘frequent cyclists’ by cycling at least once a week. Interestingly, the responses have allowed to perceive various groups. On the one hand, highly educated people, people living together with friends, students, (full- or part-time) employees, as well as retirees tend to bike more often. On the other hand, unemployed people and people running a household fulltime seem to spend less time on their bikes.

For what purposes do we get on our bike?

Some think of a bike as a means of transport while for others it equates pure pleasure. In any case, we use our bicycle for a variety of purposes. More than half of the respondents cycle several times a week for shopping, to visit family and friends or to travel to leisure activities. Add cycling as a way of commuting to work and school to the list for half of the respondents. However, there is a lot more to cycling than just getting from one place to another. One in three respondents cycles for leisure itself several times a week.

Certainly, the survey has shown that people want to cycle more. For instance, 30% of the respondents would like to cycle more to commute, 43% would like to cycle more for shopping and travelling to leisure activities, and most surprisingly, 53% would like to cycle more as a leisure activity itself. So, whatare we waiting for?

Why not start cycling (more) today?

Half of the respondents have indicated that, in addition to the weather and distance factors, there is a clear number of barriers that prevent them today from cycling more. Although, safe cycle routes and parking appear to get better, these two remain important barriers for people to use their bikes. Indeed, 40% of the respondents are dissatisfied with the initiatives of the governments concerning bicycle policies in their regions. Especially with respect to the condition and maintenance (45%) of the bicycle paths as well as to the safety of the bicycle paths (39%) and crossings (39%). Hopefully, policymakers can learn from this survey and implement appropriate measure to motivate people to cycle more.