Over the course of a decade Inner London, Brighton and Bristol have seen the number of cycle commuters increase by at least 100 per cent.
That’s according to a new study from Halfords of the latest (2011) census data, which also revealed a sharp increase nationwide.
The transport habits of almost 350 major towns, councils and metropolitan areas in England and Wales, detailed in the 2011 Census, were studied.
Inner London saw a whopping 155 per cent increase, while in Brighton cycle use rose 118 per cent – the number getting behind the wheel of a car in the seaside town actually saw a drop.
Noticeably, the stats didn’t just reveal a rise in cycling in major towns. The district of South Gloucestershire saw an increase of 41 per cent, East Sussex grew 34 per cent, Central Bedfordshire – comprised of small towns and villages – is up 33 per cent and Cumbria is also up 33 per cent.
Top ten towns/cities for increase in cycling to work 2001/2011
- Inner London 155%
- Brighton 118%
- Bristol 100%
- Manchester 88%
- Newcastle 86%
- Sheffield 85%
- Cardiff 68%
- Gateshead 63%
- Exeter 57%
- Liverpool 51%
Overall Cambridge has more cyclists per head of population than any other town in the UK.
Other cities seeing a rise include Nottingham (up 17 per cent) and nearby Leiceseter (up nine per cent).
Other major metropolitan regions besides London have seen increases of cyclists at rush hour: In Greater Manchester cycling to work is up 25 per cent, in the industrial North East it has risen by 19 per cent, on Merseyside by 12 per cent and in the extended urban areas that make up West and South Yorkshire it is up by 25 per cent.
The rise hasn’t been universal across England and Wales, however. Popularity of cycling has fallen in some areas, particularly where people may be facing longer journeys to work, says the study. In the West Midlands as a whole, cycling as a preferred form of transport is down. Lancashire and North Yorkshire have also seen a drop, though York is up eight per cent. Derbyshire is down along with Lincolnshire and Essex.
The Cycle to Work Alliance, which includes Halfords and the other major cycle to work scheme providers, reported a 7.9 per cent rise in the number joining the scheme last year compared with 2011.