The resistance to cycle paths is overestimated, according to a new study.
The majority of people (56%) support programs to promote cycling and walking, the survey commissioned by a cycling charity found.
Only 19% object to them, according to a YouGov survey of 2,094 British adults on behalf of Cycling UK.
But only one in three respondents (33%) think the public is generally in favor of such measures, and 29% believe there is general opposition.
Since May, the government has made a total of £ 250 million available to UK councils to fund the introduction of initiatives to encourage active travel.
This is in response to the fear that the coronavirus pandemic would lead to more people traveling by car.
Many local authorities have built low-traffic neighborhoods (LTNs), with separate cycle paths, wider sidewalks and roads closed to motorized traffic.
Opponents claim they are exacerbating congestion and have managed to persuade some councils to suspend or lower their programs.
Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns at Cycling UK, said: “Too many guesses overestimate the opposition to these plans and overlook the evidence.
“In recent months, Cycling UK has received multiple reports from people claiming that there is widespread opposition to the construction of new bike paths, but this and other studies show there is nothing widespread about it – just a small number of loud voices.
“This research shows that people clearly want safer, cleaner streets where they can be sure their children can play and exercise without risking danger, but they vastly overestimate public opposition to cycle paths.”
Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps has threatened to reclaim money given to municipalities if they do not consult the communities about LTNs.
He also instructed local authorities receiving funding to submit audit reports on their schemes six to 12 months after opening, to highlight how these have changed based on local feedback.
Howard Cox, founder of the automotive pressure group FairFuel UK, accused the government of implementing “anti-driver policy” that “trumps common sense.”
He said, “Drivers in the main support bikes. However, they do not support virtue signaling of roadblocks or new cycle paths that swallow existing roads.
“The increase in urban congestion, emissions and economic damage to white vans and transporters in particular are the paradoxical consequences.”