Five per cent of people in Scotland commute by bike regularly, according to new figures – but with less than three months to go before the year 2020 is rung in, the data confirm that the Scottish Government is set to fall woefully short of its target of cycling making up 10 per cent of journeys in the country by the start of the new decade.
The figures come from the Annual Cycling Monitoring Report, compiled by Cycling Scotland using feedback from local authorities and produced in partnership with Sustrans and Living Streets.
While some progress has been made in recent years in increasing the proportion of journeys made by bike – modal share averaged 0.9 per cent from 2008-10 and rose to an average of 1.3 per cent in 2015-17 (and 1.5 per cent in the final year of that period), campaigners such as Pedal on Parliament have criticised the Scottish Government for not making enough funding available to help achieve its target.
The percentage of people who say they “usually” commute by bike has risen from 2.3 per cent in 2010 to 2.8 per cent in 2017, while the proportion of those who agree that they “regularly” do so is up from 1.8 per cent to 2.1 per cent, giving a combined total of 4.9 per cent. However, that reflects a fall on the combined totals of almost 6 per cent seen four or five years ago.
Edinburgh, at 11.9 per cent, has the highest percentage of people who usually or regularly get to work by bike. Highland comes next at 11.7 per cent, then Moray on 9.1 per cent, Dundee City at 8.5 per cent and, with 6.4 per cent, the Orkney Islands.
The report also revealed a sharp rise in cyclist casualties, and a spokesperson for Cycling Scotland, quoted in a recent article in The Scotsman, said: “It is great that the number of people cycling in Scotland is steadily increasing - for environmental, health and economic reasons.
“Unfortunately, while good progress has been made on reducing road casualties over the past ten years, serious injuries to people riding have increased in parallel with the rise in cycling.
“The need for further action to tackle the increase in serious injuries is recognised in the current Road Safety Framework and should be a key priority in the new framework for 2020-2030.
“The only way to improve cycling safety is comprehensive action across the 4 Es of road safety: engineering, education, encouragement and enforcement.
“The investment in new dedicated cycling infrastructure, more cycle training and enforcement like Police Scotland’s Operation Close Pass are all critical steps in ensuring the safety of people cycling.”
You can find the full report, which also ranks individual local authority areas on a number of metrics including the presence of cycle-friendly workplaces and schools, here.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.