Department for Transport: Burnley has one of UK's lowest rates of cycling

Burnley has one of the lowest proportions of cyclists in England, with only one in 18 people riding their bike at least once a week according to the Department for Transport's latest survey.
The percentage of people who cycle regularly in Burnley is less than half the national average.The percentage of people who cycle regularly in Burnley is less than half the national average.
The percentage of people who cycle regularly in Burnley is less than half the national average.

In Burnley, there were 278 respondents to the survey who answered questions about their travel habits between November 2017 and November 2018. Of those, 5% said they cycled at least once a week. This is well below the England average of 11%.

Cycling is becoming less popular in Burnley. The survey suggests 39% fewer people are cycling at least once a week, compared with 2016-17. In Cambridge, the local authority with the highest proportion of cyclists, more than half of the residents cycled at least once a week.

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Campaigners have said the Government needs to improve cycling infrastructure to get more people out on bikes. The survey found cycling for leisure was more popular than for travel, with 4% of people cycling at least once a week for fun, while 2% commuted by bike. Nationally, the number of cyclists has slightly fallen over the last year.

Xavier Brice, chief executive of Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, said: “Much more needs to be done overall to increase cycling across the nation. Evidence shows that when dedicated space for riding a cycle is provided, an increase in cycling levels will follow.

"In Bristol, a city where 75-miles of cycle routes are physically separated from vehicles, 25% of residents cycle at least once a week," Xavier added. "The Government has a responsibility to make active travel easier, safer, and more appealing than driving for short journeys, and this can only be achieved through large scale investment in walking and cycling infrastructure."

The charity Cycling UK appealed to ministers to tackle the perception that cycling is a dangerous activity.

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Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns, said: "Despite the Government recognising the need to encourage and enable more people to cycle regularly for health and environmental reasons, unfortunately the proportion of trips made by bike has remained largely static for 20 years. When asked what stops people from cycling more often, the common response is that it’s too dangerous.

"The reality is that cycling is not a dangerous activity, but it’s this perception which needs to be tackled," Duncan continued. "To do this, we need to build cycling routes separated from motor traffic, safe for a 12 year old to ride along. That requires at least a doubling of current spending on cycling and walking, which must be a priority for the Department for Transport in the forthcoming Spending Review."

Burnley has a lower proportion of cyclists than the North West does on average. Across the country, Cambridge has the highest percentage of people who cycle at least once a week, 57%. Havering, in London, has the lowest, with only 3%.