If I ask you to picture a cyclist in your head, what do you see? Do you conjure up a sporty image of a racing cyclist? Or perhaps a mountain biker? Or maybe a city commuter? What you probably don’t see in your head is a disabled person or a person over the age of 65, cycling.
Cycling helps people access the things they need: work, education, food, health services and recreation. Despite the obvious value to health and wellbeing of our communities and our environment, the full value that cycling offers is not being realised. Currently, the highest levels of cycling in the UK are observed among white males aged between 17 and 49.
The potential to engage others is huge: 55% of people from ethnic minority groups, 38% of people at risk of deprivation, 36% of women, and 31% of disabled people who do not cycle would like to start.
As part of a joint study by Arup and Sustrans, we have looked to highlight the barriers and identify opportunities for making cycling a more inclusive activity. Our research found that whilst differences exist between different demographic groups, many of the barriers that we need to overcome to increase diversity in cycling are shared. Many solutions would help most people who do not cycle, to start.
© Jon Bewley/photojb/Sustrans