Belfast Telegraph

Poll: Are you in the 13% of people in Northern Ireland who walk to work?

Only 13% of people in Northern Ireland walk to or from work, new figures have revealed.

A report published by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) for the 2016/17 period showed the vast majority of people in the province (87%) did not walk to or from their place of work.

People aged between 16 and 24 (27%) were more likely to normally walk to or from work than any other age group, while people from urban areas (16%) were more likely to walk to or from work than those from rural areas (7%).

Of those who do walk to or from work, more than two thirds (68%) walked one mile or less on average.

More than a quarter (27%) walked two to three miles, while 4% walk four to five miles.

Just over half (52%) of respondents who reported that they normally walk to or from work said they walk five days per week on average.

The figures also revealed that only 2% of people in Northern Ireland cycle to or from work.

Of the respondents who cycle to or from work, more than two fifths (42%) cycle two to three miles, on average, in one direction.

More than a quarter (26%) cycle six miles or more, just under a fifth (19%) cycle one mile or less and the remaining 13% cycle four to five miles in one direction.

Just under two fifths (39%) of people who reported that they normally cycle to or from work said they cycle five days per week on average. 16% of people said they cycle three days per week, 19% cycle two days and 13% cycle one day.

Green Party councillor James Hunter urged councils to press ahead with building safe cycling infrastructure.

The Bangor West councillor said: “It is still very early days for cycling infrastructure in Northern Ireland and we have a long way to go in the promised Cycling Revolution before safe routes to work are widespread.

“The more people we can encourage to walk and cycle to work, the more we can reduce the cost to the health service by improving people’s mental and physical health.

“We are seeing high levels of walking and cycling on innovative off-road routes such as the Connswater Community Greenway and this is the way we should be going if we are to encourage people out of their cars.

“As it is, most people do not feel safe braving the dangers of our busy arterial routes. That is why it is so disappointing that the Department for Infrastructure has seen fit to allow taxis into the bus lanes that provide a safe separated route, creating a new chill factor for those who cycle.

“If the Department is serious about cutting congestion and persuading people to leave their cars at home, they should cancel this controversial and dangerous experiment before someone is hurt," the Green Party councillor said.

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