Cookies on
We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies from our website. However, if you so wish, you can change the settings on your browser to control how you recive cookies.
Javascript needs to be enabled on your browser if you want to interact with this site
Email: Password: Sign In Sign In Help

Back to Editorials Home Email Editorial Address:
Created by: DrivingCyclist

Cycling is not practical for most people's transportation or commuting needs


Most people that drive have adopted the attitude that driving is their only option for transportation. They often feel that their car represents freedom. With the exception of people with disabilities or those with disabled dependents, the above statements are very rarely anywhere near the truth.

Article Content
Main Pic

How far do we drive?
According to
49% of the population in the UK travel less than 3 miles to work
68% of the population in the UK travel less than 6 miles to work
83% of the population in the UK travel less than 12 miles to work

While there of course people that have no choice but to drive (such as disabled etc), there is no doubt that an awful lot of them simply don't want to make the effort.

At an easy to maintain pace of 12 mph, it would take someone 15 minutes to travel 3 miles by bike, 30 minutes to travel 6 miles and an hour to travel 12. Such journey times are less than the average journey times for trips of the same distance by car in many urban locations, such as cities.

The Average Journey Lengths

Below are examples of how we are depending too much on cars.

The school run
The average distance travelled to school in the UK is 2.5 miles, a distance which can be easily cycled in less than 15 minutes. The law allows children to cycle on pavements, and with more emphasis, the government is being persuaded to improve cycling infrastructure, but more people need to get on board.

The Shopping Trip
The average distance travelled for the purposes of shopping in the Great Britain is around 4 miles. Unfortunately, this figure is skewed upwards due to the current trend for driving to large supermarkets which offer free parking necessitating their situation often in remote locations.Improving the provision for cycling makes shopping locally more viable than it is currently by car.

On the topic of shopping, people convince themselves they need a car to carry all the goods home, but travelling longer distances with a car is driving up the quantity of and monopoly mega supermarkets, whereas if we made smaller journeys on a bicycle (like they do in places like Denmark and The Netherlands), there is a much higher probability of more local shops and smaller supermarkets. This would finance smaller family run businesses instead of mega-rich CEOs within blue-chips.

Using myself as en example...
My average cycle journey is 7 miles in length, which means I am averaging more distance per journey than 50% of the nation's drivers using a car and I frequently carry our children with us.

Many use the excuse they have to drop the kids off to school then get to their place of work. Many employers will exercise flexibility here. I cycle to drop my children off at school and then cycle on to work without any problem. It just takes a bit of discipline and understanding that it is possible. Once someone gets into the swing of it, they would feel much better and healthy in general. I am talking from experience.

I am not an athlete, I am a middle-aged person of a healthy weight, but was previously suffering badly with obesity, heart arrhythmia and heartburn. These are all now a thing of the past for me.

"But I need a car because..."

If you took just 1% of the nation's drivers (around 34,000), there will always be someone who claims they have to use their car for their job. There will always be someone who claims they have to use their car due to time constraints of dropping the kids off to school then getting to work. There will always of course be people with disabilities or with disabled dependents.

With the exception of disabilities, how many of the above sub-category of people REALLY need to use a car, and more to the point, how many people use these sub-categories to justify their own situation which doesn't even fit into any of the above?

Or how may of them claim to need their car for work, but only spend hours in a car because to afford the house they want in the location they want necessitates working 10s of miles away?

No one is saying we should just give up cars, but no one with an ethical outlook on life can deny that our over use of cars is a serious problem and that many could use alternatives if they really wanted to.

I know of people that jump in the car and do a 3 mile round trip to a place that is a quarter of a mile away by foot.That's the unbelievable reality of the situation.

End of Article