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Cycling in London up a quarter since 2019 as TfL aims to get more people in the saddle

Particularly strong growth at weekends as focus shifts to getting more women and members of ethnic minorities riding bike

The number of people cycling in London is up a quarter since 2019, with Transport for London (TfL) aiming to get even more people in the saddle, especially women and members of ethnic minorities.

The London Evening Standard reports that TfL cycle counts for Inner London from March this year to the beginning of June showed 24 per cent growth on average against the comparable period three years earlier.

The intervening period of course has seen a huge change in travel patterns as a result of COVID-19 which has seen many people, including key workers in hospitals for example, swich to two wheels to get to work while others who previously commuted to offices by bike, say, are now working from home at least some of the time.

Weekday cycling has risen by 14 per cent over the past three years, but growth has been particularly strong at the weekends – when more people are likely to be riding for leisure purposes – rising by 82 per cent.

TfL cycling strategy manager Alexandra Goodship said: “We have seen really strong growth in cycling over the last 20 years, with journeys having increased by 152 per cent.

“Cycling was really popular during the pandemic but it’s a bit early yet to know whether that trend is going to continue beyond this period.”

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While the general trend over the past decade has been for the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the capital’s roads to fall, there was a 15 per cent increase last year.

According to TfL, in excess of 800,000 trips are now carried out by bike each day, but it says that in order to hit its goal of 1.3 million journeys a year by 2024, it will focus on trying to encourage more women and members of ethnic minority groups to cycle.

“We want to shift our approach to be much more inclusive and to broaden its appeal,” Ms Goodship explained.

“We are going to be refreshing the cycling action plan later this year. It’s really critical that everything we deliver in cycling reaches all Londoners, particularly in deprived areas.

“If we can succeed in making cycling more inclusive, we will be able to unlock many of the ‘switchable trips’. We know that 38 per cent of switchable trips are made by black and ethnic minority Londoners and more than half by women.”

This month has seen the opening of a protected cycleway on the north side of the Hammersmith Gyratory as well as the completion of Cycleway 9 running west from there to Chiswick, and Cycleway 4 in Greenwich is also currently under construction.

But with the coronavirus pandemic causing a cash crisis at TfL due to plummeting fare revenue, it is now having to rely on short-term government bailouts and has said that only projects where cash has already been committed will be built for now – and as a result it is calling on boroughs to themselves fund initiatives including bike hangers and cycle parking at train stations to help boost cycling.

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Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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