36% of primary school children haven't ridden a bike in a year, study finds

Raleigh conducted research into the cycling habits of children over the past year

Children Cycling Raleigh research 36% didn't cycle in 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

New data has revealed that fewer children are getting on their bikes and cycling, with 36 per cent of all primary school children not cycling at all in 2021, equating to 1.6 million kids. 

The research, conducted by cycling brand Raleigh, also showed that school children in cities were the least likely to have used a bike this year, with 49 per cent in London not even getting on a bike in the past 12 months. 

It was also revealed that one in 20 primary school children have never ridden a bike - over 230,000 kids. 

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Commenting on the new research, Raleigh UK spokesperson Michelle Jakeway said: “Most adults will remember the sense of freedom riding a bike brought them and we saw once again just how much happiness cycling can bring during the lockdowns, with record numbers of grown-ups getting on two wheels.

“So, it’s a real shame to see that many kids aren’t getting to experience that too.

“The simple joy of cycling, and the health benefits it can bring, should be encouraged and open to everyone.”

Raleigh surveyed more than 2000 parents of UK primary school children as part of its research, with the majority suggesting that the activity is too dangerous nowadays.

Parents argued that traffic is too hazardous and there isn't enough space for their children to cycle safely. However, two-thirds of the parents surveyed cited cycling as one of the vital life skills for children to learn, alongside swimming and money management.

Some suggested that re-introducing the Cycling Proficiency Tests back into every school would not only encourage cycling more, but also give them as parents greater peace of mind. 

Therefore, Raleigh has developed some tips for parents to encourage their child to cycle in safe environments. These include building their child's confidence by practising skills in quiet areas, leading by example on family bike rides, and giving incentives so that they enjoy being on their bike more.

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.