43% badge safety a priority to stimulate ridership, says YouGov study

Just in time for World Bike Day, VanMoof has partnered with YouGov for a study seeking to understand people’s new mobility behaviours in urban public spaces across Europe and North America.

The data was collected from over 3,000 adults across five of the world’s biggest cities: London, Paris, Berlin, New York, and Los Angeles.

The results of the study show that despite the recent bike boom during the pandemic, people still do not feel safe cycling on the streets of some of the world’s major cities. For example, 43% of all people surveyed said that feeling safer would encourage them to cycle more. Additionally, 45% of all Londoners say feeling safer on the roads would encourage them to cycle more. This makes safety the strongest factor across all age groups for both men and women. More cycle lanes (34%) and less chance of bike theft (33%) were the next most important factors to encourage more people to cycle.

A major finding of the study is that huge unresolved issues around cycling infrastructure and incentives continue to discourage people from cycling. This is most notable when it comes to lacking infrastructure for cyclists’ safety.

Ties Carlier, co-founder of VanMoof, said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for e-bikes, for bike commuting, and for cycling generally. What this data shows us is that the waves of cyclists breaking onto the roads of our biggest global cities need to feel much safer to sustain their new habits. A greater share of road space and better infrastructure will allow people healthier, greener, and cleaner ways to get around our cities.”

The survey also found that one in three people (34%) think it is more important for their cities to prioritise cycling now than before COVID-19. Additionally, almost double the number of 18-34 year olds (46%) think prioritising cyclists is important compared to those over 55 years of age (24%).

E-Bike adoption was also the strongest for people under the age of 35. According to the  study, 35% of 18-34 year olds are more likely to make the switch to an e-bike for short journeys around all five cities since the impact of COVID-19.

One in four (26%) Londoners would choose cycling generally over a car for short city journeys and that number rises to 33% among 25-34 year olds. And 18% of people are more likely to choose an e-bike specifically for a short journey around London since the COVID-19 pandemic. With men (23%) marginally more likely than women to make the switch to electric bikes than women (14%).

Attitudes towards e-Bikes have also changed dramatically in the US cities of New York and Los Angeles, with 35% of New Yorkers and 32% of LA residents more likely to choose an e-bike for short journeys since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A huge 64% of 25-34 year olds in New York say they would now be more likely to choose an e-Bike for their city journeys. To put that in context, only 24% of Europeans across eleven countries said they were “likely to buy or use” an e-Bike in a July 2020 survey.

Studies have previously illustrated the fact that where safe conditions to cycle exist ridership growth comes naturally thereafter; there are even now national design standards in place to guide local authorities on what is optimal for rider safety and that will be more likely to be used.