Londoners record highest cycling volume since records began

Analysts put cycling increase down to improved infrastructure - but note the majority of riders are still white middle class men

(Image credit: UIG via Getty Images)

Figured released by Transport for London (TfL) show that cycling has seen its greatest growth in the city since records began.

Planners put the increase down to new infrastructure, in particular segregated cycleways, which they also say improve rider's perception of safety.

The year 2018 saw an average daily volume of cycling of over four million kilometres, representing an increase of five per cent.

In the final quarter of the 2018/2019 financial year, trips were up four per cent over the previous year.

London’s walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman said: “The Mayor is determined to enable more cycling all across the capital, and I’m really pleased last year saw the biggest increase in the amount of cycling in London since records began.

“It is clear that where we have invested in new high-quality routes, people feel safer and more confident cycling on London’s streets. And it is yet more evidence for boroughs across London that investing in walking and cycling infrastructure works – getting more people healthy and active as part of their everyday routine, and making our streets cleaner, greener and safer.”

TfL admits that more work needs to be done to understand if the increase in recorded areas is down to new journeys being made, people swapping their mode of transport, or existing cyclists moving their routes.

It noted that the improved perception of safety was greatest on segregated or motor vehicle-free routes.

This finding is supported by a university study, which showed basic bike lanes created via painted lines actually increased close passes and decreased safety.

However, TfL also noted that the demographic profile has not shifted - with people cycling on the routes still mostly white, male, middle-aged, middle and high-income people who cycle regularly.

A recent YouGov poll commissioned by national charity for cycling, CyclingUK, found that 85 per cent of women in the UK never ride, or do so less than once a month.

The survey showed that 27 per cent said they would be more likely to do so with improved cycling infrastructure, with 20 per cent also looking for more considerate drivers and access to a working bike.

The charity has subsequently launched a 'Women's Festival of Cycling' running throughout July, in which it wants women who already ride to encourage friends and family to try it too.

Construction work on a major new segregated cycle route - Cycleway 4 between Tower Bridge and Rotherhithe Roundabout - will begin on this Friday.

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