More people are travelling by bike, new data shows

Cycling Scotland has published the latest findings from the traffic survey it conducts twice a year.

By Neil McGrory, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 9:55 am
The new cycle lane in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Photo: John Devlin
The new cycle lane in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Photo: John Devlin

The survey is carried out at around 100 locations each May and September. It found a significant increase in the number of people using bikes to get around – up from 0.67 per cent in May 2019 to 3.44 per cent in May 2020.

Car use dropped from 83 per cent to 79 per cent, taxis were down from two to one per cent, vans increased from nine to almost 12 per cent, HGVs were up from two to over three per cent, bus use dropped from 1.7 to 1.1 per cent, and coaches dropped from 0.17 to 0.14 per cent.

The survey was based on observations made by cameras over the course of 48 hours in 97 locations including Airdrie, Arbroath, Ayr, Barrhead, Bathgate, Broxburn, Denny, Dumfries, Dundee, Dunoon, East Kilbride, Elgin, Falkirk, Forres, Glasgow, Hamilton, Helensburgh, Lanark, Larbert, Neilston, Stirling and Stranraer.

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Cycling Scotland Monitoring and Development Officer, Natalie Cozzolino, said: “It’s encouraging to see such a dramatic increase in modal share, albeit from a low base.

“Although this is a nationwide picture and there are variations by area, this rise in cycling’s modal share is in line with the increase we’ve seen in people cycling throughout lockdown, which has been sustained to-date.”

Monitoring data from June showed that the increase in cycling was continuing during lockdown.

Figures released yesterday (Monday, July 20) by Cycling Scotland showed a 230 per cent increase in cycling at Arbroath Road in Dundee and a 300 per cent increase in Denny in June 2020 compared to June 2019, and across all counts the number of people cycling was up 62.75 per cent.

Ms Cozzolino added: “Less traffic is one of the reasons more people are cycling and to sustain this change in travel habits long term, it’s essential we increase our network of dedicated, separate, inclusive cycle lanes.

“Supporting access to bikes and places to store them is also key to enabling more people to choose travel by bike, helping us address the climate emergency we face and creating a healthier, sustainable future for everyone.”