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It appears from a recent survey by the Department for Infrastructure that Cycling is a male orientated pursuit.

The ‘Cycling in Northern Ireland 2019/20’ report found that only 32% of people have access to a bicycle and out of these just 32% are female. The report also found that Bicycle access was lowest among those aged 65 and over (13%) and highest among those aged 35-49 (43%) and 16-24 (40%) when compared to all other age groups.

A group of cyclists on Merchant's Quay in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
A group of cyclists on Merchant's Quay in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Our Council area was the second lowest area when it came to actually having access to a bicycle, only being beaten by Derry and Strabane Council. Only 26% of the respondents from Newry, Mourne and Down claim to have access to a bike contrasting with 41% in Armagh/ Banbridge and Craigavon Council area, the highest district.

The survey found that just 25% or respondants had cycled in the past four weeks and of the 210 respondents who said they had cycled in the last 4 weeks, almost two-fifths (39%) cycled at least once a fortnight, similar to previous years. One-fifth (20%) cycled once every 4 weeks and a small proportion (6%) said they cycled 5-7 days a week. The most popular reasons for cycling in the last 4 weeks was for ‘exercise’ (87%) and because they ‘enjoy it’ (80%). Overall, male respondents (37%) were more likely to have access to a bicycle compared with female respondents (27%).

Attitudes towards cycling

When asked to describe their attitudes to cycling;

  • 3% described themselves as ‘strong and fearless’,
  • 14% of respondents were ‘enthused and confident’,
  • 16% said they were ‘interested, but concerned’.
  • Around two thirds (67%) of respondents considered themselves to be in ‘No way, no how’ group.

(Each of the statements can be associated to a general category of cyclists taken from the ‘Four Types of Cyclists’ typology developed by the Portland Office of Transportation).

The Department for Infrastructure’s Active Travel Branch provides a focus and co- ordination role for cycling issues and active travel in general. The Branch works towards delivering better cycling infrastructure routes in Northern Ireland to enable infrastructure that delivers more sustainable transport and explores ways of enhancing safer, cleaner travel that connects communities and enhances lives.

The publication is available on the ASRB website at WWW.INFRASTRUCTURE-NI.GOV.UK
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