Number of cyclists going downhill slowly, official figures show


The number of people cycling at least once per month fell slightly in 2014/15, despite long-term Government targets to achieve an increase.

However, the percentage of people walking frequently in England has increased significantly for a second consecutive year.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has published its Local Area Walking and Cycling Statistics: England, 2014/15, which covers adult walking and cycling for local authorities and regions in the year ending mid-October 2015.


The DfT said its analysis showed 15% of adults cycling at least once per month for any purpose, equivalent to about 6.5 million people.

However, the precise figure of 14.7% represents a fall of 0.3% on the previous year, a figure the DfT said was not statistically relevant.

The statistics show both significant differences between authorities in cycling prevalence and differences in whether prevalence is increasing or decreasing.

The number of people cycling at least once a month varies greatly between authorities, ranging from 5% in Burnley to 43% in Oxford and 58% in Cambridge.

Wandsworth had the highest annual cycling increase in England in 2014/15, nearly doubling from 18% to 31%. However, falls in other areas meant that the national percentage fell.

DfT officials said: ‘We cannot be certain of the reasons behind any changes in reported walking or cycling levels at national or local authority level, or if what respondents report translates into their actual walking and cycling behaviour.’

The statistics show that 86% of adults in England, equivalent to 38.3 million people, walk at least once a month for any purpose, which is unchanged from 2013/14.

In October 2014, at the beginning of the period measured by the new statistics, the DfT published a Cycling and Walking Delivery Plan, which aimed ‘to double cycling, where cycling activity is measured as the estimated total number of bicycle stages made each year’, by 2025.

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