Millions of drivers looking to ditch cars with cycling popular

New research has found that 20 million Britons regularly drive between one and two miles, regardless of the short distance. Of these, more than a third – or 6.9 million – want to switch to alternative travel methods, including cycling and using public transport.

When driving these short distances, many environmental and motoring experts have touted the use of other travel methods to cut down on pollution.

When asked about the other options they would choose for journeys of less than a mile and a half, 13 percent said they want to cycle more often.

This includes six percent who said they would be open to trying out an electric bike, a mode of transport which has gained popularity in recent years.

The data, from Kwik Fit, the 6.9 million people looking to cut down will add to the estimated 5.2 million drivers who have already done so over the last two years.

For many motorists, the cost of petrol and diesel has been the biggest factor affecting their driving costs, forcing some to use alternative methods.

Last year, the price of fuel almost reached £2p per litre for diesel, while petrol stagnated at around £1.90.

While prices have fallen significantly since then, coupled with the cost of living crisis, drivers are still struggling.

Almost 40 percent of drivers cited the cost of fuel as their reason for wanting to cut down on their own car use.

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Other options included improving their health (30 percent), wanting to cut down on vehicle emissions (26 percent) and time management (17 percent).

Mark Slade, managing director of Kwik Fit, commented on the shift of drivers looking for alternative travel options and what they could do.

He said: “This research shows that there are many reasons why drivers are looking for different modes of travel for short journeys, and we can support them through removing some of the barriers when it comes to increased cycle use.  

“In addition, a growing number of our customers who operate vehicle fleets have been asking if we can support their expanding cargo bike operations, which are increasingly being used for short urban journeys.”

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Kwik Fit has launched a new partnership designed to support those looking to support drivers switching to other options, including active travel.

With cycling being one of the most popular alternatives, Kwik Fit and Fettle are aiming to remove barriers to entry for drivers looking to ride more often.

Almost half of car owners already have a bike, but said they were deterred from riding as often because of the weather, safety fears and not being able to carry things.

Mr Slade added: “The fragmented nature of the industry’s current network of largely independent bike shops makes it hard for manufacturers and fleet operators to secure reliable and consistent high-quality servicing across their operations. 

“By partnering with Fettle, we can offer its services and the expertise of its dedicated teams at Kwik Fit locations to address this need.”

Electric bikes now make up 30 percent of overall bike sales, while sales of cargo bikes at some leading retailers rose by 40 percent last month compared to 2021.

For those who may not have maintained the quality of their electric, or non-electric, bike for a while Kwik Fit has launched a new bicycle MOT.

It is hoped this will give people the confidence to start cycling more often and present it as a serious challenger to the car for shorter journeys.

Jeyda Heselton, CEO and Founder of Fettle, said: “Combining our knowhow with Kwik Fit’s network and experience in the automotive sector was therefore a natural next step to accelerate our ability to service customers at scale.”

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