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Transport / Survey reiterates cycling safety worry

SEGREGATION from vehicle traffic and safety remain key barriers to people cycling more in Shetland, a recent survey has reiterated.

Meanwhile 42 per cent of people responding to the survey said their transport patterns have changed since the start of the Covid pandemic.

The online survey was carried out by transport partnership ZetTrans earlier this year.

It was undertaken to inform the development of a new Shetland transport strategy.

A survey on internal transport received 1,036 responses, and another on external travel had 580.

When it came to cycling, 65 per cent of respondents said a lack of segregation from traffic was a “major factor” in preventing them from cycling more.

Feeling safe and a lack of opportunity to cycle when going somewhere such as work, shopping or socialising also featured highly.

The safety issue is nothing new in Shetland, with reminders often made in the past to drivers about keeping their distance from cyclists.

Meanwhile for public buses service frequency, the range of destinations and the time of the last bus were the main issues behind people not using them more.

The Bressay shopper bus on the Bressay ferry. Photo: SIC

Weekend timetables were also a barrier to more people using inter-island ferries.

The price of tickets was the main factor when travelling by air on inter-island flights.

When it came to external travel, around one third of people completing the survey said they flew off Shetland every six months.

Visiting family/friends and leisure trips were more common than journeys for work, with Aberdeen the most popular destination.

Half of people said they always, or nearly always, drive to Sumburgh Airport and park.

The cost of flying, however, was regarded as the main barrier to more people heading south on the plane.

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For the NorthLink boat, a similar number of people (36 per cent) said they travelled south every six months.

Most people said they drive to the ferry terminal in Lerwick.

More than half of respondents said they had occasions where they were unable to book their vehicle on the ferry, and nearly 70 per cent had the same problems with a cabin.

Cost was again highlighted as a barrier, as was a shortage of on-board accommodation.

Meanwhile four in ten respondents said their travel patterns have changed due to the Covid pandemic.

Many people said there was an increase in walking, and some reported less travel by car or ferry.

Outside of the surveys a series of discussions have been held with various organisations and council departments about transport.

This has included engagement with NHS Shetland, VisitScotland, the council’s roads department and the National Farmer’s Union.

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