Driving Down Cycling Up

Posted by chdot on August 16, 2006

Latest transport survey from The Scottish Executive shows that drivers in Scotland covered 150 million fewer miles (on major roads) in 2005, 1 per cent down on 2004.

Figures for cycling are almost contradictory. Apparently the number of people cycling to work has fallen from 1.8 to 1.6 per cent, but “cycling as a means of transport” has risen from 2.6 to 2.9 per cent.

If accurate, that is a 10% rise in a single year which would be significant. It’s certainly credible for Edinburgh. It seems unlikely that the number of people cycling to work has gone down here. However it is possible as the SE survey shows a small increase in walking and a trend towards greater use of Public Transport.

There will always be complaints about the provision of PT. Buses will never cover all the routes that people want, or always come when they want, or take them door to door – that’s what bikes are for!

The reality is that in Edinburgh the bus service is good AND attracting people from their cars and (perhaps) their bicycles.

Nationally 53% of pupils walked to school – up 2% on 2004. Cycling remains at 1% and is unlikely to be much different in Edinburgh. When surveyed, around 40% of children say they would like to cycle to school – but don’t.

The reasons for this are complicated. Cycle security is an issue. Few people are willing to leave expensive bikes locked to Sheffield racks (if they exist) in a school playground. Few schools have lockable cycle storage.

In Edinburgh most initiatives to encourage cycling to school have been started by the Department responsible for Transport. Education is a casual participant – “it’s the parents’ responsibility for getting children to school”. Cycle Training is largely under the control of Lothian & Borders Police. The Police are reluctant to relinquish this control but are unwilling to devote sufficient resources to this vital way of encouraging young people to cycle safely.

SE Press Release | Scotsman story

One Response to “Driving Down Cycling Up”

  1. […] A recent story highlighted the difficulty of relying on statistics to judge increases in bike use. […]

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