The Department for Transport’s (DfT’s) Local Area Walking and Cycling Statistics report, released yesterday, concludes that there has been “no statistically significant change in reported cycling prevalence in England overall.”
Based on the Active People Survey, the annual Sport England telephone survey, the report states that around 15 per cent of adults in England cycled at least once a month in 2014/15. Equivalent to around 6.5 million people, this is a similar level to previous years. Cycling rates at higher frequency levels have also seen no significant change.
Needless to say, cycling rates vary greatly between authorities. At one end of the scale are Cambridge and Oxford where 58 per cent and 43 per cent of people cycle at least once a month. At the other end, we have Burnley, where only five per cent of people ride that often.
Wandsworth saw the highest annual increase in 2014/15, rising to 31 per cent from 18 per cent the year before. It is perhaps worth noting that the area has recently benefited from access to Cycle Superhighways 7 and 8.
Other than Wandsworth, South Norfolk and Barrow-in-Furness also saw major rises, by 25 per cent and 19 per cent. However, it doesn’t need pointing out that these gains must of course be balanced out by drops elsewhere for levels nationwide to have remained the same.
Recreational cycling is slightly more common than utility cycling, but in both cases levels drop away in the 16-24 and 25-34 age groups. There is then a peak in the 35-44 age category before a steady decline from then on.
A lower proportion of women cycle than men in all age groups. Overall, 20 per cent of men cycle compared to 10 per cent of women. The annual British Social Attitudes Survey found that a large number of people believe cycling is too dangerous for them and women were more likely to reach that conclusion than men to (71 per cent against 57 per cent).