Growth in cycling on Merseyside has risen ahead of target over the past four years, meaning that the goal of achieving a 10% increase from 2006 to 2011 in the number of trips undertaken each year by bicycle has been met a year early.
According to a report from Merseyside Transport Partnership (MTP), between April 2009 and March 2010, the number of trips undertaken by bicycle rose by 10% on the previous 12 months.
It adds that since April 2006, when targets were set under Merseyside’s second Local Transport Plan (LTP2), there has been a 14.3% rise in the number of trips made by bike, as measured by more than 40 automatic counters installed throughout the area together with manual audits.
MTP attributed the rise to initiatives such as better cycle facilities and cycle networks, the provision of cycle training to both adults and children, and efforts to raise the profile of cycling and its associated benefits.
Programmes singled out as contributing to growth incude Bikeability training, Southport’s status as a Cycling Town, and MTP’s own TravelWise initiative, which includes providing maps, advice and support to would-be cyclists, as well as the Liverpool City Region Cycling Alliance under which Liverpool NHS Primary Care Trust and Liverpool City Council agreed to commit to increasing cycling levels in the city.
The Speke Cycle initiative was also hailed as a success, resulting in 60% more trips being made by bicycle in Speke between October 2009 and September 2010.
Neil Scales, Chair of MTP, said he was delighted that targets for increasing the number of trips undertaken by bicycle on Merseyside had been beaten, saying: “Higher levels of children are classified as obese or overweight in Merseyside than elsewhere in England and Merseyside also has significantly higher levels of coronary heart disease and chronic liver disease than the rest of the country.
"Cycling is a very simple way of incorporating physical activity into people's daily lives and can bring tremendous benefits to health as part of the 2010 Year of Health and Wellbeing. Increasing cycling levels in Merseyside will also help cut the area's carbon output and benefit the economy, as goods and people are able to move smoothly around the transport network.”
He continued: "In Merseyside, a high proportion of the journeys that people make each day are under five miles and can easily be made on bike. We aim to continue to invest in encouraging people to cycle more often and for a greater variety of trips and, as the consultation continues on our third Local Transport Plan (LTP3), there is a clear opportunity for us to continue to further increase cycling levels.”
"With more than 50 members already signed up to the Liverpool City Region Cycling Alliance, I would like to thank these organisations for their ongoing efforts to increase cycling levels in Merseyside and would encourage others to get involved," Mr Scales added.
More information on cycling in Merseyside is available on the TravelWise website or by calling 0151 330 1290.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.