The latest government figures reveal that despite much positive talk, cycling still accounts for just two per cent of all journeys in England – a level that’s remained static since 1989. The national cycling charity, Cycling UK, says that this is the effect of a long term failure by successive governments.
Although the distance cycled overall and per trip increased from 2006 to 2016, this corresponds with cyclists travelling further rather than more people taking up cycling.
The number of cycling trips has fluctuated between 14 and 18 trips per person per year over the same period and was 15 in 2016.
The figures also indicate that men cycle three times more often and four times further than women and Cycling UK is particularly concerned that any growth in cycling appears mainly to be among white males, suggesting an ongoing decline among women, children and people of diverse backgrounds.
The charity’s policy director, Roger Geffen, said of cycling levels: “This flatlining is clearly indicative of a long-term failure to invest in cycling and walking by successive governments.
“Cycling UK wants to see more women, children and people of diverse backgrounds out cycling – when we have an increase in their numbers we will know government is on the right track.”
While casualty figures show cycling is “a safe way of travelling and serious accidents are rare”, 68 per cent of adult women say the roads are too dangerous compared to 50 per cent of men.
England’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy will see annual Government spending on cycling outside London drop to just 72p per head in two years’ time.
The mayors of London and Greater Manchester are investing £17 per head, while Scotland plans to invest £15 per head for the whole country.
Geffen added: “Air pollution, congestion, physical inactivity: all impose increasing costs on society. The country needs more people cycling and walking. Government and local authorities need to wake up to their benefits, and start making the significant investment necessary to make them the natural choice for shorter journeys.”
You can get more a breakdown of the latest government figures via this interactive map.