The National EuroVelo Coordinator for the UK, Sustrans, has reported the biggest ever increase in the number of people cycling on its National Cycle Network (NCN), with 40 million more cycling trips made during 2011 than in the year before – an 18% increase. In total 256 million trips were made by bike on the NCN in 2011.
Sustrans began work on co-ordinating the NCN in 1995 with the ambition to create space in every community in the UK that would enable people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle for more of their everyday journeys. 17 years later, and the Network now extends to 13,600 miles (21,887 km) of signed routes with a third on traffic-free paths and the rest following quieter lanes or traffic-calmed roads. The four EuroVelo routes that pass through the UK (EuroVelo 1 – Atlantic Coast Route, EuroVelo 2 – Capitals Route, EuroVelo 5 – Via Romea Francigena and EuroVelo 12 – North Sea Cycle Route) all follow components of the NCN. Sustrans work with every local authority and council in the UK to develop and maintain the Network which now passes within a mile of over half of the population of the UK.
The number of trips by foot and bike has grown every year on the NCN since usage was first recorded in 2000. The recently published report indicates that 3.3 million people used the Network during 2011 (compared to 3 million in 2010), making over 1.3 million trips everyday. Every part of the UK played a role. Cycling increased by 19% on the Network in England, Wales and Scotland, with Northern Ireland seeing a 13% increase.
A quarter of all journeys on the Network in 2011 were to, or for, work, and the bike dominated with 80% of commuting trips being made by cyclists. 98 million trips by bike were to work. If each of these had been made by car at average commuter occupancy, there would have been over 81 million additional car journeys on local roads. Women made a quarter of all cycling trips on the Network in 2011, and made 13% more trips by bike than the previous year. Overall women made over 176 million trips on the Network during 2011.
For more information on the report, the UK’s National Cycle Network and Sustrans in general visit their website.