Fear of traffic is the main reason two thirds of drivers will not cycle on roads, a survey says.

Road safety charity Brake and Pudsey-based breakdown group Green Flag conducted the national poll and concluded people would cycle more if off-road routes were introduced to allay safety fears.

Government figures show 2,420 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on UK roads last year.

But Chris Evans, co-ordinator of Bradford cycle group Crank It Up Cycling Opportunities for All, which trains people to ride safely, said: "The problem is people aren't trained to cycle on the road. If properly-trained you are more likely to have the confidence, although there is obviously a greater danger with more cars on the roads. Forty per cent more people cycle than ten years ago."

Paul Corcoran, who runs Pennine Cycles in Thornton Road, Bradford, said: "I'm concerned that the people who fear the traffic are bad drivers themselves. The car is king, it's what people grow up with now and it gives them a false sense of safety which a bike does not."

Ken Russell, of Thornton, Bradford, won the Tour of Britain in 1952 and, aged 77, still cycles. He said: "It's definitely more dangerous these days. I've had a bottle and an egg thrown at me riding on the road and the volume of traffic is terrible.

"If you have experience you learn to be careful but parents won't even let their children ride without supervision these days."

Half of Bradford schools have adopted cycle-friendly travel plans and many have used Government grants to provide cycle storage.

But the numbers of young UK people who are driven to school is increasing every year, damaging their health, according to Brake.

Jools Townsend, Brake's head of education, said: "Too many people try to cocoon themselves and their families in cars, leading to more vehicles on our roads and an even greater threat to pedestrians and cyclists.

"Choosing cycling and walking over the car is good for your health and the environment."

  • Bradford Council, Bradford and Airedale Primary Care Trust and The University of Bradford are jointly promoting Bike Week which starts next week.