Wales

'Not enough' walking and cycling in Wales, study finds

Too many of us are still using the car to get to work or even the pub, the latest transport figures show.

Only 3% of people cycle to work, while 17% walk, despite ministers passing a bill to encourage more "active travel".

Just over a third of people walk infrequently or not at all to get from A to B.

The Welsh government said: "The fact that not enough people are cycling and walking is the reason we are introducing the Active Travel Act".

It aims to encourage alternatives to car use and will provide £12m towards developing travel routes, while councils will have to produce travel plans.

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Image caption Figures show 3% typically use the train and 6% the bus as part of their journey

The main findings were:

Cycling

  • 60% of people own a bike but only 6% travel by bike at least once a week
  • 1% of pupils ride to secondary school
  • only 3% "typically" cycle to work; the main purpose is travelling to local shops on small errands (24%)

Walking

  • 20% walk once or twice a week
  • 34% walk infrequently or not at all, while a third of children walk to school
  • 17% of us typically walk to work; the main reason is local trips to the shops (40%)

Cars

  • 77% use them for travelling to work
  • 30% typically drive to schools and college and 48% to get to the local pub or cafe

Beckie Helmore from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, is one commuter considering moving from four wheels to two.

"I drive to work because of the distance but I've recently got a bike and have tried the route out at the weekend on sunnier days.

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Media caption'I take the car to the gym' - people in Wrexham on how they get around

"It has to be an alternative route because the way I go by car has quite busy lanes.

"It can be intimidating riding on the road. Being a driver you know to give cyclists a gap but not all drivers do that."

Matt Hemsley, policy adviser for transport charity Sustrans Cymru, said: "The biggest problem is the fear of traffic and the speed of traffic.

"People enjoy cycling for leisure and will put a bike on the back of the car and drive out at weekends but not for work.

"For the price of a couple of miles of new motorway you could make a transformative difference by creating safe cycle routes - ideally segregated from traffic.

"We also need to cut the speed. There's also no town or city in Wales which is completely 20mph for residential areas."

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