Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Cycling on the up in Scotland, says Sustrans

Threefold increase in trips on some National Cycle Network routes

Cycling is on the up and up in Scotland, according to a new report from Sustrans Scotland, which says that last year saw a record 26 million trips on National Cycle Network routes north of the border.

Sustrans and other active travel groups have recently been pushing the health benefits of getting out of your car. Sustrans Scotland reckons the  34.3 million cycling trips and 28.3 million trips on foot made on the network were worth an estimated £71.5 million in health benefits.

The UK Chief Medical Officer recommends 150 minutes of activity a week for general health. According to Sustrans, 60.5% of users on the National Cycle Network in 2012 completed 30 minutes or more of physical activity on five or more days in the previous week.

Cycling and walking routes pay back between 2 and 9.5 times more than they cost, says Sustrans. The organisation claims that’s a much higher return on investment than for other forms of transport.

Some parts of the network have seen substantial increases in use, according to the Edinburgh Evening News. Automatic counters showed that user numbers for a cycle path in Bathgate rose from 49,067 in 2004 to 162,973 by 2012. At Musselburgh’s Goose Green numbers rose from 35,358 in 2011 to 85,167 last year. And a traffic-free section of path in West Granton hit a record peak of more than 900 cyclists a day on weekdays last summer – 50 per cent up on the same period in 2011.

Ian Maxwell, from cycle campaign group Spokes, said: “It’s all part of this cycling revolution in Scotland. We are seeing a really spectacular change and this is just one of the ways showing there are far more cyclists on the streets and there are also far more cyclists using off-road paths. That’s really to be welcomed.”

City transport vice-convener Councillor Jim Orr said the soaring numbers confirmed Edinburgh’s reputation as the active travel Capital of ­Scotland.

“We’re continuing to invest heavily in cycling in Edinburgh at six per cent of the transport budget. We’re trying to remind people cycling is a fun, healthy, convenient and economical way to get around town.”

Lovers of facts and figures can download the full report from Sustrans.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

Add new comment


georgee | 190 posts | 9 years ago

Meanwhile TFL data shows the first drop in cycling in London in ages...

Maybe why they shifted Norman Baker out, or am I just being a conspiracy theorist?

a.jumper | 849 posts | 9 years ago

And those counters are notoriously inaccurate, so it's probably an even bigger increase.

Latest Comments