Belfast Telegraph

Poll: 80% say build more protected bike lanes in Belfast - do you agree?

By Jonathan Bell

A huge population of the Belfast public support more spending and improved infrastructure for cycling in the city, a new survey suggests.

In a survey by charity Sustrans, which is aimed at getting more people to consider more sustainable modes of transport, it found 81% of people supported the building of dedicated cycle lanes in the city.

The report found that in the past year it's thought almost 7million journeys were made by bike replacing 7,000 cars on the roads - that included around 5% of people who regularly cycle to work. The health benefits are thought to have saved the NHS almost £400,000.

It's estimated the journeys benefit Belfast to the tune of around £16m a year.

We still have a long way to go to increase cycling in the city. Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister

In the survey of 1,100 Belfast residents, half of people said they would want to take to two wheels with two thirds say a dedicated cycle lane would give them the confidence to take to the road.

The survey also found that the majority of the Belfast population did not own a car.

Sustrans says around £25 per head, or £8m a year should be invested in cycling infrastructure in the city.

Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said: “Bike Life shows that most people in Belfast think cycling is a good thing and are far more supportive of bold and ambitious plans for cycling than decision makers often think. They want dedicated space for people on bicycles even when this means taking space away from cars.”

Belfast Lord Mayor, Nuala McAllister added: “The report shows we still have a long way to go to increase the number of people cycling in Belfast, to make it a really bike-friendly city but Belfast’s first Bike Share Scheme has really helped promote cycling and normalise it as a way of travelling in our city. Around half a million journeys have been made on Belfast Bikes to date, with 400,000km cycled (the distance to the moon).

The Northern Ireland Programme for Government commits to increasing the number of people travelling by sustainable modes such as cycling and the Department for Infrastructure has committed to encouraging more people to walk and cycle for short journeys.

It is also committed to providing the infrastructure to allow cyclists confidence to take to two wheels in the city.

Peter May, Permanent Secretary, Department for Infrastructure, said: "Over the past few years cycling has been enjoying a resurgence in Belfast.

"This Bike Life report has gathered some key data that will help guide the ongoing development and operation of bicycle infrastructure and associated engagement programmes over the coming years."

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