Rise in cycling seen in Edinburgh and Glasgow since introduction of bike share schemes

Cycling in Scotland’s two biggest cities has increased in the last year following the introduction of bike sharing schemes.

Research has suggested that the number of trips on cycle hire schemes has increased by 70% in Edinburgh and 30% in Glasgow since August 2019.

The figures have been outlined by CoMoUK, a shared mobility charity which has monitored the success of various bike sharing schemes in both cities. It will publish a full report later this year, but in yesterday’s webinar Scotland director Lorna Finlayson said early signs were “encouraging”.

Nearly three-quarters of people said they now cycle more often, while 58% of respondents said bike-sharing was the trigger for taking up cycling again. More than one in ten added that they have since gone on to buy their own bike.

Those who participated in the research said physical and mental wellbeing and convenience was the reason for taking up cycling, as well as a safer alternative to public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The early indications are that bike-sharing schemes have made a huge impact in Scotland’s two largest cities,” said Finlayson. “There has been a significant increase in cycling in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which translates to thousands of people swapping four wheels for two.

“That has an obvious positive impact for the environment and congestion, but our respondents have told us it’s helping their own health and wellbeing too. That’s particularly important as we navigate through a global pandemic and associated lockdowns.

“It also shows that people are more than willing to change their travelling and commuting habits if Government and other public agencies come together to make those choices available. By improving cycling infrastructure and encouraging more people onto their bikes, our cities will become cleaner and traffic will be reduced on our streets.”

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