Fivefold rise in cycling as car use falls on Scottish roads

Analysis from Cycling Scotland has shown an increase in bike use against a backdrop of a fall in car journeys.

Fivefold rise in cycling as car use falls on Scottish roads Pixabay

Bike use has increased fivefold as car journeys have fallen in the last year, analysis has suggested.

That’s according to Cycling Scotland, whose twice-yearly survey monitors all traffic, counting how many journeys were made by cars, taxis, vans, HGVs, buses, coaches and bikes.

Cameras were positioned in 97 locations across Scotland to count vehicles over a 48-hour period in May.

Cycling Scotland’s study found that 3.44% of all journeys were made by bicycles, up from 0.67% in May 2019.

Car use showed the largest fall, down from 83.26% to 78.8%, while the share of taxi journeys (0.85%) is almost three times lower than last year (2.14%).

Van and HGV traffic accounted for a combined 15.17% of all journeys, up from 11.76%, with respective increases of 2.2% and 1.21%.

Cycling Scotland’s 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.”

According to additional monitoring from June, the average number of people cycling each day was up by 62.75% compared with the same month last year.

A single automatic bicycle counter, on Arbroath road in Dundee, recorded an increase of 230%, the organisation said.

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.”

Last Friday, the Scottish Government announced that almost all of their £30m fund for pop-up bike lanes and projects to create space for walking and cycling had been allocated.

The Spaces for People fund closed for applications after awarding £29.6m to 31 local authorities.

Money is being used for infrastructure encouraging active travel and to allow more physical distancing for pedestrians, with bids amounting to a further £8.6m still under consideration.

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