A story pumped out by the Press Association - and carried by newspapers such as The Guardian - claims that 13m Britons bought a new bike last year spending £3.78bn. Oh, if only it were true!

PA falls for wonky ‘survey’ stats on bike sales

The survey was carried out by Churchill Home Insurance.

A simple Google search on bicycle statistics would have pointed Churchill to the BikeBiz.com stats page at http://www.bikebiz.co.uk/…/stats.php

UK bike sales stats differ widely but even the upper estimate is 4.5m sales a year.

The Churchill Home Insurance survey’s other findings are that 42 per cent of respondent said they now used their bicycles more than they did five years ago. About 17 per cent said they preferred using bikes to cars or public transport as they were more convenient, and 6 per cent said they cycled because it was better for the environment. Around one in five cyclists said they had been involved an accident, while 6 per cent said they never stopped at red lights.

It’s believed that 68.9 per cent of PR-led survey statistics are made up on the spot. 76.2 per cent of these statistics are then placed in press release headlines of which 85.4 per cent make it into newspapers as "facts."

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