Reputation survey: public backs the bikes

The public has got behind Boris Johnson's bikes for rent scheme in London, although the majority think cycling is dangerous and few actually cycle regularly.

Despite repeated delays to the wider rollout of Boris Johnson's bikes for rent scheme in London, new figures show the public is supportive of the scheme, which aims to get more people cycling.

PRWeek/OnePoll's latest survey of 3,000 members of the public found that although 65 per cent said it was too early to judge whether Boris' scheme was a success, the scheme has been welcomed in principle.

Two-thirds of respondents said the scheme's £140m cost was a reasonable use of money, with 36 per cent believing it would pay for itself in the long run and 31 per cent believing the cost was immaterial if it got more people cycling.

Eighty-three per cent wanted the scheme to be replicated in other cities, although 35 per cent admitted they would not use such a scheme themselves and only 16 per cent said they cycled regularly.

However, the majority of respondents were worried about the safety of cycling, with 77 per cent saying they believed cycling was definitely, or a little, dangerous.

A third of respondents said the boost to cycling's profile in recent years was because of health and fitness benefits, while 27 per cent said it was a result of cycling being more environmentally friendly than cars or public transport.

There was surprisingly little scepticism over high profile politicians such as Boris Johnson and David Cameron cycling, with only 28 per cent believing it was just a publicity stunt. Forty-two per cent thought it would encourage others to follow their example and 26 per cent thought it showed the politicians were in touch with environmental and health issues.

Survey of 3,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll


Cheryl Campsie, Senior consultant, Forster

Boris' bikes have landed (how galling for Barclays to stump up the cash only to see Boris take the glory), with over 80 per cent of respondents keen to see the scheme replicated elsewhere.

So are we in the midst of a cycling revolution? No. Cycling remains marginal - two per cent of journeys are by bike.

One reason is the poor infrastructure. According to the survey, 77 per cent think cycling is dangerous. In the absence of investment in segregated cycle paths, how do you get your mum on a bike?

At Forster we asked staff what was stopping them from cycling. Cost, safety and convenience were raised. So we provided bike pools, training, shower facilities, extra holiday for cyclists and 40p a mile business cycling. The end result - loads of us cycle, not to race or pose, but to do our job. It's not sexy like the Boris Bikes, but making cycling an everyday choice is the way forward if we want a real cycling revolution.


No - bikes are annoying to motorists 8%

No - it's dangerous 10%

Yes - better for the environment 36%

Yes - better for health 46%


No more than any other transport 19.5%

Not at all dangerous 3%

Yes, definitely 22.5%

A little 55%


Rollout of scheme

83% of respondents said they would like to see the London bike hire scheme replicated in other cities


69% were unaware that the cycle hire scheme is sponsored by Barclays

London skyride

62% said the upcoming London Skyride was a good thing as it encouraged people to cycle


56% disagreed that Boris Johnson would succeed in making the bikes into London 'icons'


16% of respondents said they cycled regularly

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in