Cycling UK's Cycling Statistics | Cycling UK (2023)

Table of Contents
FAQ: 1. How much cycling is there compared to other transport, and is it increasing? Great Britain 2. How many people cycle and how often? England (aged 5 and over) Wales (aged 16 and over) Scotland (aged 16 and over) Northern Ireland (aged 16 and over) 3. How many people don’t cycle much, if ever? England (aged 5 and over) Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (aged 16 and over) 4. How many trips do people make and how far do they go each time? England: Scotland Northern Ireland (2017-19) 5. How many people own or have access to a cycle? 6. Who cycles most - women or men? England Wales (2019/20) Scotland (aged 16 and over, 2019) Northern Ireland (of those who have use of a bicycle, aged 16 and over, 2019/20) 7. Which age group cycles most? 8. What's the purpose of most trips? England Wales Scotland 9. What proportion of children cycle to school? England (5-16 year-olds) Wales (primary school children) Scotland (all schools) Northern Ireland (4-18 year-olds) 10. What about cycling to work? England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland 11. Occupation, income, ethnicity and disability 12. How many drivers cycle? And how many cyclists drive? 13. What kinds of roads are people most likely to cycle on? 14. Which local areas see the most cycling? England (mid-Nov 2019 to mid-Nov 2020) Wales (2018/19) Scotland (2019) Northern Ireland (2017-19) 15. How do UK levels of cycling compare to those in other European countries? 16. How safe is cycling? 17. How many cycles are sold in the UK? 18. What's the average weekly household spend on bikes? 19. How many cycles are stolen in the UK? England & Wales (April 2019 - end March 2020) Scotland (2019/20) Northern Ireland 20. What are our main sources?

Do you need facts and figures about cycling? Cycling UK continually analyses statistical releases, and here’s our latest round-up

Introduction

Each year, Cycling UK rounds up numerous statistics on cycling, mainly using government sources.

The following summarises some of the latest findings, but the attached report goes into considerably more depth, and includes charts and tables. The full report also looks in closer detail at each individual nation, where possible.

For most sources, the latest available figures are for 2020 which, as we all know, proved a very unusual year. Covid-19 not only affected people’s travel habits, but also the way that statistics about them were gathered. As a result, 2020 figures are not always comparable with earlier years, so they need to be interpreted carefully (for more on this, please see the full report).

Notes:

  • The original sources for the figures below are cited in the full report.
  • Unless otherwise stated, ‘usually’ refers to the annual average from 2015-2019.
  • 2020 figures are mostly cited separately.
  • Most figures have been rounded.
  • The majority of these figures are all estimates informed by surveys and counts.
  • It’s best not to compare figures for each nation because they’re based on differently framed surveys (see main report for more on this).

Where figures for any particular nation are missing, it means they either aren’t collected or not readily available (the full report explains this in more detail).

FAQ:

1. How much cycling is there compared to other transport, and is it increasing?

Great Britain

Cycling: proportion of all traffic mileage:

  • 1% (usually)
  • 2% (2020)

Cars and taxis: proportion of all traffic mileage:

  • 77% (usually)
  • 73% (2020)

Miles cycled:

  • 3.30 billion miles (usually)
  • 5.03 billion miles (2020).

Trend for billion miles cycled:

  • upward over the last few decades
  • 2.50 (1993)
  • 2.80 (2003)
  • 3.10 (2013)
  • 3.30 (average a year, 2015-2019)

Cycling: proportion of trips:

  • < 2% (usually, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • 2.8% (2020, England).
  • Figures for Wales not available.

For data on other kinds of transport, please see full report.

2. How many people cycle and how often?

The following figures come from differently framed surveys, so it’s best not to use them to make comparisons between nations.

England (aged 5 and over)

Cycle more than once a week:

  • 14% (usually) / c7.4 million people
  • 20% (2020) / c10.7 million

Occasionally each month:

  • 10% (usually) / c5.2 million people
  • little change in 2020

A few times/once or twice a year:

  • 10% (usually) / c5.2 million people
  • 8% (2020, a drop probably because some were cycling more often)

Wales (aged 16 and over)

Cycled as a ‘means of transport’ in the last three months (2016/17 to 2019/20):

  • 5% every day / once, twice or several times a week (c135k people).
  • 4% once or twice a month (c93k people).

Scotland (aged 16 and over)

Cycled for transport or pleasure in the last seven days (2014-19):

  • 6% at least once (c265k people).

Northern Ireland (aged 16 and over)

Did any cycling in the last four weeks (2016/17 to 2019/20):

  • 3% - 4.5% at least once a week
  • 3% at least once every fortnight
  • < 1.5% once every four weeks

3. How many people don’t cycle much, if ever?

England (aged 5 and over)

  • 66% (usually)
  • 61% (2020)

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (aged 16 and over)

  • > 90%

4. How many trips do people make and how far do they go each time?

England:

Number of trips per year

Cycle:

  • 16 (usually)
  • 20 (2020)

Car/van (as a driver):

  • 387 (usually)
  • 295 (2020)

All kinds of transport:

  • 960 (usually)
  • 739 (2020)

Mileage per year

Cycle:

  • 54 (usually)
  • 84 (2020)

Car/van (as a driver):

  • 3,248 (usually)
  • 2,324 (2020)

All kinds of transport:

  • 6,553 (usually)
  • 4,334 (2020)

Average trip length (miles)

Cycle:

  • 3.3 (usually)
  • 4.1 (2020)

Car/van (as a driver):

  • 8.4 (usually)
  • 7.9 (2020)

All kinds of transport:

  • 6.8 (usually)
  • 5.9 (2020)

Scotland

Trip distances (miles, 2019)

Cycle:

  • 1.7 (median); 3.0 (mean)

Car/van:

  • 4.2 (median); 9.0 (mean)

All kinds of transport:

  • 2.7 (median); 7.3 (mean)

Northern Ireland (2017-19)

Number of trips per year

Cycle:

  • 7

Car (as a driver):

  • 453

All kinds of transport:

  • 903

Mileage per year

Cycle:

  • 34

Car (as a driver):

  • 3,641

All kinds of transport:

  • 6,130

Average trip length (miles)

Cycle:

  • 4.8

Car (as a driver):

  • 8

All kinds of transport:

  • 6.8

5. How many people own or have access to a cycle?

England (aged 5 and over)

  • 42% (usually)
  • 47% (2020)

Please see full report for breakdown by age group.

Wales (2013/14, last time question asked)

  • 63% (aged 16-24)
  • 63% (aged 25-44)
  • 58% (aged 45-64)
  • 44% (aged 65-74)
  • 29% (75 and over)

Scotland (households owning one or more bicycles that can be used by adults)

  • 33.5% (2019)
  • 45% (2020 - sample size much smaller than normal)

Northern Ireland (aged 16 and over)

  • 32% (2019/20)

6. Who cycles most - women or men?

Males cycle more than females, but the gap in England narrowed somewhat in 2020.

England

Number of cycle trips a year:

  • Females – 9 (usually)
  • Males – 24 (usually)
  • Females – 13 (2020)
  • Males – 28 (2020)

Number of miles cycled a year:

  • Females – 23 (usually)
  • Males – 89 (usually)
  • Females – 50 (2020)
  • Males – 127 (2020)

Wales (2019/20)

Usually travel to work by bicycle:

  • Females – 1%
  • Males – 2.4%

Scotland (aged 16 and over, 2019)

Cycled for transport:

  • Females – 3%
  • Males – 7%

Cycled for pleasure/to keep fit

  • Females – 4%
  • Males – 8%

Northern Ireland (of those who have use of a bicycle, aged 16 and over, 2019/20)

Cycled in the last four weeks:

  • Females – 16%
  • Males – 31%

7. Which age group cycles most?

Unsurprisingly, the younger people are, the more likely it is that they’ll cycle. For full breakdown by age group, please see the full report.

8. What's the purpose of most trips?

England

  • Commuting – 35% (usually)
  • Leisure* – 34% (usually)
  • Commuting – 20% (2020)
  • Leisure* – 55% (2020)
  • Shopping – 11% (usually & in 2020)
  • Education/escort education – 11% (usually)
  • Education/escort education – 6% (2020)
  • Personal business + business + other escort – 11% (usually)
  • Personal business + business + other escort – 8% (2020)

*Visit friends at home and elsewhere, entertainment, sport, holiday and day trip.

Wales

Purpose of most recent trip by cycle (2014/15, the last time question asked):

  • Getting to or from work/business – 30%
  • Shopping (local + town centre + supermarket) – 27%
  • Get to local/non-local leisure activity – 16%
  • Visit friends and relatives – 15%
  • Recreational – 5%
  • Other + school/college + medical – 7%

Scotland

Percentage of people (i.e., all respondents to the survey, not just people who cycle) who reported cycling in the last seven days (2014-19):

  • Just for pleasure – 6.1%
  • For transport – 5.6%

9. What proportion of children cycle to school?

England (5-16 year-olds)

  • 2.2% (usually)
  • 2.5% (2020)

Wales (primary school children)

  • 1.7% (2014/15, last published estimate)

Scotland (all schools)

  • 4% (‘Hands Up’ survey, usually and 2020)
  • c. 2% (Household survey, 2018-2020)

Northern Ireland (4-18 year-olds)

  • 1% (usually)

More on trends, other kinds of transport and trip length in the full report.

10. What about cycling to work?

England

Commuting trips (proportion by cycle):

  • 4% (usually)
  • 5% (2020)

Wales

People who usually travel to their workplace by cycle:

  • 2% (2019/20)

Scotland

Employed adults who usually cycle to work:

  • 3% (2019)
  • 2% (2020)

Northern Ireland

Workers who cycle-commute:

  • 1% (2017/19)

11. Occupation, income, ethnicity and disability

  • Broadly speaking, students, people on higher levels of income and those who identify themselves as ‘White other’ (rather than ‘White British’) tend to cycle more than other groups. (This is the case most years, but not every year).
  • People with limiting disabilities are about half as likely to cycle as those who do not.

For a more detailed breakdown by nation (where possible), and to see who is least likely to cycle, please see full report.

12. How many drivers cycle? And how many cyclists drive?

Figures from the Department for Transport (England), suggest that:

  • Almost every adult cyclist who holds a driving licence also drives
  • About a third of people with a driving licence also cycle

For more detail, please see the full report.

13. What kinds of roads are people most likely to cycle on?

Most cycle mileage happens on minor roads, in urban areas especially.

Proportion of cycle mileage on difference classes of roads:

  • 82% minor roads, urban + rural (usually)
  • 85% minor roads, urban + rural (2020)
  • 59% minor urban roads (usually)
  • 55% minor urban roads (2020)
  • 23% minor rural roads (usually)
  • 30% minor rural roads (2020)

The remainder happens on ‘A’ roads (18% usually; 15% in 2020), mostly on urban ‘A’ roads (14% usually; 11% in 2020).

For more detail, please see full report.

14. Which local areas see the most cycling?

Please note the different measures for each nation.

England (mid-Nov 2019 to mid-Nov 2020)

  • Cambridge - 29% of adults cycled at least three times a week. Average for England 5.3%

Wales (2018/19)

  • Cardiff - 16% of adults cycled more often than once a month (anything from once or twice a month to every day). Average for Wales 9%.

Scotland (2019)

  • City of Edinburgh - 13% cycled to work at least regularly. Average for Scotland 5.7%.

Northern Ireland (2017-19)

  • Belfast – 2% of journeys. Average for Northern Ireland 1%.

For more on local areas that see a relatively high level of cycling, please see full report.

15. How do UK levels of cycling compare to those in other European countries?

Not well. Out of 28 countries in Europe:

  • The UK comes 22nd for ‘cycling modal share’ (2%). The Netherlands comes top with c.27%.
  • The UK comes 25th for the proportion of people using a privately owned bike or scooter (inc. electric) as their mode of transport on a typical day (2%). Again, The Netherlands comes top at 41%. (2019).

For more stats on levels of cycling in different countries in Europe, plus some facts and figures specifically on The Netherlands, please see full report.

16. How safe is cycling?

Cycling is safer than many people think it is.

In ‘normal years’ (2015-2019, GB), over a distance equivalent to 1,000 times round the Earth at its widest point:

  • One cyclist is killed
  • 33 are seriously injured
  • 103 are slightly injured
  • The figures for 2020 are: 0.70 (killed); 21 (seriously injured); 59 (slightly injured).
  • There are around 10.4 million cycle trips for every cyclist fatality (9.4 in 2020).
  • The general risk of injury of any severity whilst cycling is just 0.045 per 1,000 hours of cycling (0.025 in 2020).

Also,

  • The risk of being killed whilst cycling per billion miles cycled has been trending downwards since 2013, as has the risk of being seriously or slightly injured.
  • The health benefits of cycling outweigh the injury risks by between 13:1 and 415:1, according to various studies (and depending on the benefits/disbenefits considered).

Of course, every casualty is a casualty too many.

For more facts, plus a table showing the absolute number of cyclist casualties by nation, please see full report.

17. How many cycles are sold in the UK?

The Bicycle Association is the best source of figures for bicycle sales in the UK. They tell us that, in 2020:

  • 3,260,000 cycles (units) of all kinds, including e-bikes, were sold
  • 160,000 e-bikes (units) were sold

For further facts on the cycle industry, please contact the Bicycle Association directly. Our full report also supplies a few extra stats (including the average price paid for a bicycle).

18. What's the average weekly household spend on bikes?

On average, each household in the UK spends just under £82 a week on transport. In 2020, this included:

  • £1.10 on bicycles
  • £58.50 on cars/vans
  • £21.70 on public transport

For a more detailed breakdown, please see full report.

19. How many cycles are stolen in the UK?

Figures about stolen bikes come from police records and from household crime surveys. The difference between the two sets of data suggests that by no means all thefts are reported.

England & Wales (April 2019 - end March 2020)

  • c271,000 incidents of bicycle theft (household survey)
  • 88,303 bicycle theft offences for the same period (police records)

Scotland (2019/20)

  • c19,000 bicycle theft crimes committed, affecting 0.7% of households (crime survey, not police records, best estimates).

Northern Ireland

  • 0.6% households and 1.6% of bicycle owners (adults) fell victim to bicycle theft (2019/20 household survey, best estimates)
  • 731 bicycle thefts (2020/21, police records)

20. What are our main sources?

The list above includes the references sources we most often use, but there are a few others. For full details, please see the full report.

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