UK falling behind Europe in cycle lane satisfaction and safety

UK cyclists are less satisfied and do not feel as safe as their European counterparts on their local cycle lanes, according to a new survey by leading water management specialists ACO Technologies.

Detailed in a report, 100 urban cyclists from the UK were surveyed alongside an equal sample size from four other nations where this mode of active travel is popular – Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

The findings show that the UK is falling behind its European counterparts on cycle lane maintenance and safety. The experiences of the UK’s cyclists follow a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which shows how investment in active travel infrastructure is in decline in the UK, standing at just 2% of the total transport budget.

Michelle Osborne, Product Manager at ACO Water Management, said: “The UK’s cycle lanes and paths are more important than ever. The drive to lower emissions, create more sustainable cities, and improve the nation’s collective health all involve the bicycle, and active travel in general. However, the results of ACO’s latest survey demonstrate that there is still much to do for the UK to become a leading cycling nation. To get people physically active and back in the saddle, the nation’s cycling infrastructure should be fit-for-purpose, and users need to feel safe when on two wheels.

“Our latest white paper finds that there is there is not a singular reason behind the UK’s poorer results concerning cycling safety when compared to other European nations. Instead, it is a mix of factors, including poor upkeep, highways being more car-centric, and cyclists feeling more vulnerable from having to share the road with pedestrians and motorists.”

A crucial recommendation from ACO’s report is to emphasise the importance of sustainability and safety during product specification when creating cycle lanes, while following guidance set out in local transport note (LTN) 1/20.

ACO also shares recommendations for how to design better cycle lanes. This includes encouraging local authority decision makers and highways engineers to consider route quality, easier demarcation of roads and cycle lanes, and effective water management through better hydraulic design of drainage systems to avoid standing water.

Michelle highlights how specially designed systems, like ACO’s combined kerb and drainage solution, the KerbDrain CycleKerb range, can provide safe and effective drainage of surface water, while also taking road and pedestrian users into account.

She said: “Maintaining consistency during design will be critical to ensuring safe cycle routes, where surface water is effectively managed, and the experience of cyclists is enhanced. We’ve designed our KerbDrain CycleKerb for these very reasons, and the range includes a number of features. For example, CycleKerb units have the drainage inlets on the solution’s vertical face, which means not only is standing water reduced, but tripping and slipping hazards for pedestrians and cyclists are prevented as well.”

“It’s important that any solutions chosen are picked with a long-term vision in mind, and that they will perform in ever-more extreme weather patterns. Engaging with drainage manufacturers such as ACO throughout the build process is encouraged to best provide a cycling network that can meet current demand and is fit for the future.”

To download ACO’s latest white paper, please visit



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