The Government and local councils are being urged to make cycling safer amid the continuing popularity of bikes in Britain.

A survey of 4,000 people, conducted as the annual Tour de France got under way this weekend, found that 55% believed cycling should be a bigger priority for the Government.

Just over half of those polled by Halfords said local authorities should take on a more proactive role to improving cycle safety.

Many of those questioned said they would be encouraged to get on their bikes if there were more cycle lanes and places to park and lock their bikes.

Emma Fox, commercial director at Halfords, said: "Our state-of-the-nation report on cycling safety demonstrates that most people want the Government to make a firm commitment to cycling safety.

"Over the last few years, Britain has made huge strides towards becoming a cycling nation, but the Government must be prepared to invest more in safer cycle routes not only to maintain this momentum but extend travel choice, ease congestion, improve our health and our environment."

Cycling minister Robert Goodwill said: "Cycling brings great benefits to society as a whole, cutting congestion and improving air quality and is a healthy, cost-cutting transport option.

"We want to double the number of journeys made by bicycle and it is vital that we improve cycle safety now.

"That is why we are investing at least £240 million over the next five years in cycle training in schools and in improving cycling infrastructure, including our work to ensure all new roads have safe infrastructure for cyclists."