Students and cycling

In 2017-18, NUS partnered with Love to Ride and the EAUC to deliver a pilot project, Uni-Cycle, to get more staff and students cycling in higher education. The pilot was funded by the Department for Transport Innovation Challenge Fund pilot and involved working with a core group of universities in England to research, design, implement and refine behaviour change interventions to help achieve the Government's target of doubling cycling by 2025.

As part of the project, we carried out some scoping research with students in higher education to understand more about current cycling behaviours and attitudes, including barriers to cycling or cycling more.  2042 students responding to an online survey revealed that:

  • Respondents are most likely to say they walk to their place of study (31%) and drive to their place of work (24%). 6% cycle to university and the same proportion (6%) cycle to work.
  • 1 in 3 respondents say they have access to a bike, even if they don’t currently use it.
  • Over half (56%) say they have not ridden a bike in the last 12 months. A further quarter have only done so a few times in the last year. 7% say they cycle 4 or more days a week.
  • Respondents express concern about their safety when cycling, with 82% saying that cyclists are vulnerable to other road users and 64% saying that traffic makes them afraid of cycling.
  • Having safer places to leave their bikes, shower and locker facilities and promoting campaigns to encourage cycling would help students to cycle/cycle more. Having dedicated cycle lanes and offering a bike rental scheme would also encourage more cycling.

Click here to read the full research report.