As London's Barclays Cycle Hire scheme celebrates its first anniversary, new figures show the public is still supportive of the initiative, which aims to get more Londoners cycling.
The latest survey by PRWeek/OnePoll of 2,000 members of the UK public has found that 81 per cent of respondents believe the scheme makes a positive contribution to London. A further 70 per cent said they supported cycling as a form of transport because it was better for the environment than other modes (41 per cent) and better for health (28 per cent). And more than three-quarters of respondents said the scheme should be replicated in other cities.
Forty per cent of those asked also thought cycling's reputation had improved in the past year.
Respondents said the biggest benefit of the scheme was a reduction in traffic congestion (29 per cent) alongside reducing air pollution (24 per cent) and improving the health of the population (21 per cent).
But the public is still concerned about safety, with 72 per cent saying cycling was dangerous, or a little dangerous. Only 12 per cent of people said they cycled regularly, with 33 per cent saying they never cycled.
Nearly half of those asked said it was too early to tell whether the rollout of the scheme had been a success, while 40 per cent said it was too early to tell whether London Mayor Boris Johnson had made the bikes into a London icon.
Only 40 per cent were aware that Barclays sponsored the scheme.
Survey of 2,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll
HOW I SEE IT - PETER GILHEANY, DIRECTOR, FORSTER
The novelty has worn off but it seems 'Boris Bikes' have wormed their way into our affections, with 80 per cent of respondents believing the scheme makes a positive contribution.
The news has improved slightly for Barclays as well - 60 per cent weren't aware of their sponsorship, compared with 69 per cent last year. The doom-laden predictions of widespread injury and death haven't come to pass and the bikes are now an everyday sight.
However, it isn't all rosy for Boris and TfL. Cyclists are rightly angry about road conditions in London and are happy to use the bikes to bite the hand that feeds. During a huge recent demonstration against TfL by cyclists on Blackfriars Bridge, it was notable how many Boris Bikes were present. Many people remain frightened of cycling (35 per cent think it is definitely dangerous, compared with 22 per cent last year). The bikes are great, but proper, segregated bike lanes that help people feel safe would be so much better.
ROLLOUT OF SCHEME
78% of respondents said the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme should be replicated in other cities
60% were unaware that the scheme was sponsored by Barclays
Cost of scheme
44% said the scheme's £140m cost was a reasonable use of money and would pay for itself in the long run