Cycling charity Cycling UK has said the UK ‘could be a nation where cycling is the natural choice for short journeys’, if people are given the right support.
The organisation’s flagship Big Bike Revival programme supported over 80,000 people to begin or return to cycling between April 2021 and March 2022. Over a third (36%) of respondents to the three-month follow-up survey reported that they had started cycling 50% of the journeys they previously drove.
Currently only 2% of journeys in the UK are cycled, says Cycling UK. The charity believes that more low-cost interventions like the Big Bike Revival are ‘essential’ to achieving Government targets across the UK: doubling cycling journeys in England by 2025, reducing car journeys by 20% in Scotland by 2030, significantly reducing car journeys in Wales by 2040, and for 20% of journeys under one mile to be cycled in Northern Ireland by 2025.
Cycling UK CEO Sarah Mitchell said: “These dramatic results show the difference it can make when we support people to cycle as a form of transport rather than a sport.
“The programme’s track record of getting people out of cars and onto a bike is a clear sign that people are willing to cycle when it is introduced to them in the right way. I’m especially pleased that the Big Bike Revival has reached people who don’t usually cycle, like women and people from minority ethnic groups.
“The Big Bike Revival is a blueprint of how to get more people in the UK cycling, particularly in harder to reach areas. This is vital as the need for cycling – a cheap and accessible form of transport – will only grow as the cost of living crisis deepens.”
The results are part of a report on the Big Bike Revival, which aims to break down barriers to cycling by upskilling people in cycle maintenance, teaching them to ride or boosting their confidence with led rides and other activities.
With £2 million of funding from the Department for Transport, over 300 community and not-for-profit groups delivered free activities in areas across England between April 2021 and March 2022.
Active Travel Minister Jesse Norman said: “It’s great news that this programme has transformed travel habits and given thousands of people the confidence to switch to cycling. The Government has committed £600 million since the start of the pandemic to accelerate the use of active travel. It is a great way to get fit, save money and keep the planet green.”