Switching short journeys to bike can save Scots up to £2,000 per year

New research has revealed that swapping a car for a bike can save Scots up to £2,000 a year by leaving their car at home for journeys less than five miles.

The findings – released by Sustrans Scotland – are based on the standard running costs of a car and bike. They compare the direct cost savings made if existing car journeys were replaced by bike for trips less than five miles, ten miles and all annual travel. 

The research shows that for households who already own a bike, as well as saving £1,959.16 per year, when swapping four wheels for two for short trips, £2013.49 can be saved for journeys of ten miles or less.

Even households which don’t own a bike are able to save if they make the switch to cycling for trips of less than five miles, and can put away up to £1,874.16 in their first year, after the cost of buying a bike. 

With the average salary in Scotland, these savings are equivalent to more than an eight per cent pay rise in take-home. Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “By choosing to leave the car at home for short trips, people can make significant financial savings. This research highlights the importance of people in Scotland making smarter travel choices for more of their everyday journeys.

“The Scottish Government will continue to invest in infrastructure and behaviour change programmes to ensure people have the widest choice possible for their journeys and encourage more cycling and walking for shorter everyday trips.”

National director of Sustrans Scotland John Lauder added: “What makes this study so special is that the savings don’t rely on people on giving up their car for good, a decision which simply isn’t realistic for many households. 

“Not only is cycling good for your physical and mental health, but it also helps people save money for journeys which typically take no more than 30 minutes by bike. We hope our findings will encourage Scots to think twice before taking their car out for short trips if they don’t have to.”

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