Cycling in Wales increased by more than 68% during 2020 even as motorised traffic on Welsh roads fell to levels not seen since the 1990s, according to new Welsh Government research.
Cyclists peddled 320 million vehicle kilometres (vkm) on Welsh roads in 2020, up from 190m vkm just a year before. The growing popularity of cycling in Wales follows a similar trend to the one seen in other parts of the UK, with data from the Department for Transport revealing that the number of vehicle-kilometres clocked up by cyclists in Great Britain during 2020 was the highest since 1962.
By contrast, car use in Wales fell by 26.3% during lockdown, with motorists driving over 7.5 billion fewer vkm than the year before. But despite that sharp drop in car use, the total volume of motorised traffic in Wales was still equivalent to 7,760 kilometres (4,823 miles) per person. The figures show that Cardiff, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Carmarthenshire had the biggest volumes of traffic in both 2019 and 2020.
Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk, a leading financial comparison site that launched one of the country’s first price comparison products for bicycle insurance, said: “It’s extraordinary that lockdown saw cycling increase to levels not seen since 1962, a time when less than 40% of households owned a car. Bicycle use and sales across the country have continued to boom even as restrictions have eased, and there is every possibility the trend will continue.
“While vehicle traffic levels fell drastically, Welsh motorists still managed to clock-up over 7,700 kilometres for every man, woman and child in Wales. Traffic levels for motorised vehicles are now almost back to pre-lockdown levels but the enthusiasm for cycling doesn’t seem to be waning. With more people both in the saddle and behind the wheel there is likely to be additional pressure on roads.”