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Your cycling fallacy is…

Shopkeepers rely on people driving

“If we put in cycling infrastructure or pedestrianise a road, shops will get less business”

The response

Cycling infrastructure and traffic-free areas do not restrict access to shops – they can actually make streets with shops on them nicer places to visit, increasing footfall and overall demand.

Many studies – from the Netherlands in the 1970s, to big US cities in the 2010s – have found that installing cycle infrastructure does not have a negative effect on the income of businesses, and in most cases has a positive effect.

It's a popular myth that people who arrive by car spend more. People who get to the shops by cycling may spend less per visit, but they will visit more often, and they will spend more money overall. And being able to access a shop easily without a motor vehicle means that more frequent trips involving smaller ‘baskets’ become more convenient.

The headline message is: well-designed streets that make cycling and walking attractive are good for business. And in any case, cycling infrastructure won't stop people driving to shops, or parking near them and walking a short distance. The goal is not to prevent all driving, but to give people safe, sensible choices.

Indoor cycle parking in a shopping mall in the Netherlands

Indoor cycle parking in a shopping mall in the Netherlands

Photo by A View From The Cycle Path (Copyright, used with permission)