“Local authorities – build segregated lanes if you want meaningful mobility change,” says UK Ofo director

Dockless cycle hire giant Ofo has issued a rallying call encouraging urban planners and local authorities to get building segregated cycle lanes having commissioned its own study into the barriers to uptake.

The YouGov study gathered 2,059 responses online, revealing (again) that the primary obstruction to cycling uptake remains safety concerns. Some 68% of respondents in this study identified “feeling unsafe” as their primary reason for swerving cycling, while 62% stated that “bad weather” was a turn off.

Joseph Seal-Driver, UK operations director at Ofo, said: “The message to urban planners and local authorities is clear: we must make cycling safer, easier and more accessible – starting with segregated cycle lanes, safer routes and more options for cyclists.”

Deeper into the study, other barriers to cycling uptake included the practicality of carrying goods to and from the workplace (47%), while just under four in ten cited lack of shower facilities as a reason they won’t cycle to work. The latter point echoes a British Council for Offices study which had a similar brief.

Just under a third of people polled (30%) blamed poor fitness, with a quarter (25%) identifying a lack of storage to keep bike at home (a problem which dockless bike sharing solves) and a fifth (20%) air pollution.

The study did flag the wish list of the could-be cyclists. Over half (56%) oultined views on what would encourage their uptake, with 36% asking specifically for segregated cycle lanes. 41% said that, without this provision, they felt “vulnerable on the roads”.

When it comes to the perks of cycling, 38% of those surveyed said that they have cycled to work, or for work purposes. The primary drivers for cycling in this instance were both fitness and cost savings.

Three-fifths of this group (60%) said the main reason to cycle is it keeps them fit, with nearly a half (46%) saying they choose two wheels to get around as it is cheaper than other methods of travelling – highlighting the benefits to the individual as well as wider society of getting more people cycling.

Ofo, which currently operates its scheme in Oxford, Cambridge, Norwich and London, is now actively encouraging those planners that it works with to design in safe infrastructure.

Seal-Driver concluded: “Cycling has the potential to transform our cities – making the way we travel cleaner, greener and more fun, and helping us to tackle perennial issues like congestion and air pollution.

“Advances in technology mean that cycling doesn’t have to be limited to those who own a bike, with the growth of both docked and dockless bike schemes making it easier than ever for people to get on two wheels. Yet despite the progress in recent years, there is still a huge untapped pool of potential cyclists out there, put off by safety concerns, busy junctions and a lack of infrastructure.

ofo raised over £541 million in Series E financing round in July this year. Since its launch in 2014, ofo has become the world’s largest bike-sharing platform in regard to both size and market share. By the end of 2017, ofo plans to deploy 20 million bikes to the bike-sharing ecosystem, growing its service to reach 20 countries across the globe.

CyclingIndustry.News is shortly to carry an interview discussing with the bike share giant its ambition for the UK. 

Fancy doing your bit and pressing local authorities to build for safe cycling? Check in with our library of data to support your case here.