Cycling continues to be the most underutilised form of transportation in Ireland, with many commuters considering it to be too dangerous or inconvenient, a new study has found.
Irish and US researchers set out to investigate the underutilisation of cycling as a form of commuting in urban areas.
"Although bicycling is a widely accepted way to travel around cities in Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, it is still the most underutilised form of transportation in countries such as Ireland, the UK and the US. Specifically, we investigate how consumers' values, attitudes, and reasons for and against bicycling influence their decision to commute by bicycle," the researchers from UCD and the University of Wyoming said.
They asked people in Dublin to give their reasons for and against cycling. Many said that they would not cycle as they felt it was too dangerous, inconvenient or too difficult to do in a wet climate.
However, statistics show that cycling in Ireland is significantly safer than walking or driving. Furthermore, the climate in Dublin is actually drier than in many cities in the Netherlands where cycling is commonplace.
Meanwhile people who did choose to cycle provided a number of reasons for this, including to save time and money, to improve their fitness and overall health and to do something positive for the environment.
The study noted that if cycling campaigns are to be successful, they need to address people's specific reasons for choosing not to cycle. Workplaces should also be encouraged to support employees who cycle by, for example, providing showers and changing areas for cyclists.
Social media also has a role to play. For example, cycling-specific weather apps could help cyclists plan their routes and show them it is not as wet as they think it is.
Details of these findings are published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.
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