Freedom of Information Request

The role of cycling retailers in promoting modal shift towards cycling in London.

Received: 25 June 2019

Overcoming barriers to cycling in urban environments is a complex issue. While there is a considerable body of
knowledge on how the public and voluntary sectors can help address them, there is surprisingly little research on the
role of the private sector, in particular what role cycle retailers play in creating modal shift to cycling. It can be argued
whether cycling retail has or should have any stake in promoting cycling for transport, as opposed to sport or leisure.
Cycling as a mode of transport is indeed more relevant in urban environments, especially where local authorities are
making an active effort to improve cycling facilities, such as London, Manchester or Cambridge. More people cycling
can be linked with more customer spend on cycling, in terms of bicycles, accessories, but also repairs and ongoing
maintenance. Many cycling retailers are struggling to compete with online discount retailers and the face-to-face
customer service is a competitive advantage online shopping cannot imitate, especially when it comes to new cyclists
who may lack technical knowledge. Similarly, local cycling promotion strategies can potentially benefit from that
customer experience. Congruently, this project aims to explore what role local cycle retailers play in creating mode shift
towards cycling and encouraging long-term behaviour change.
Main aims and objectives/research questions
This dissertation project aims to address the lack of research on the role of private sector, in particular, cycle retailers,
in the modal shift towards cycling and to contribute to the broader debate on behaviour change for active travel.
1. What do cycle retailers do to enable mode shift?
2. What image of cycling do cycle retailers promote? Both in general, and in particular in relation to safety accessories?
3. What do cycle retailers do to support long-term behaviour change?
4. What role do they play in wider implementation of behaviour change interventions?
How do bicycle users perceive the role of cycle retailers in the formation of their cycling habits?
The aims of this dissertation project will be achieved through three-stage research project:
* Analysis of behaviour change interventions delivered by local authorities in Greater London;
* Qualitative interviews with representatives of cycling retailers;
* Online survey among cyclists who use cycling shops.

Outcome / Documents

  • Response (not held) - application/pdf - Download

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