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Cycling to work figures drop across local authorities

Most council areas across England and Wales (202 out of 348) saw a drop in the number of people cycling to work between 2001 and 2011, census figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed.

But this was offset by big rises in some urban areas, meaning the proportion of journeys to work remained static at 2.8%.

The ONS data shows that although 741,000 working people aged 16 to 74 cycled to work in 2011, up 90,000 on 2001, the working population also increased, meaning the proportion stayed the same.

In 2011, there were 29 local authorities where less than 1% of working residents cycled to work. The four local authorities with the lowest rates were all in Wales with Merthyr Tydfil the lowest with 0.3% of working residents cycling to work in 2011.

But there are 31 council areas where over 5% of working residents cycled to work. The proportion was greater than 10% in six of these local authorities.

Top of the league was Cambridge, where 29% of working residents cycled to work. The next highest rate was in Oxford (17%) followed by Isles of Scilly and Hackney at 14%.

It was also estimated that in 2011, urban working residents (3.2%) were twice as likely to cycle to work as rural working residents (1.6%). Cycling was most common among those working in elementary and professional occupations. It was least common amongst managers, directors and senior officials.

One city which is bucking the trend of local authorities is London. This is because the number of people living in the capital who cycle to work more than doubled from 77,000 in 2001 to 155,000 in 2011, the ONS figures revealed.

And, now, in a bid to get more people involved with cycling in London, every child will be offered free cycling training as part of a new Delivery Plan for Young People. This will be provided by Transport for London (TfL).

One of TfL’s top priorities – and a major reason behind the programme – is to reduce, by 40%, the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads by 2020.

In the last year, nearly 39,000 children in the capital received cycle training as part of TfL's work with 33 London boroughs to encourage children to take to two wheels.

Leon Daniels, managing director Surface Transport, said: “We want to encourage a shift towards cycling and walking as part of the school journey and get more Londoners out of their cars during the school run.

“As well as encouraging schools to sign up for cycle training, by working with the boroughs and the police we will be expanding Cycle to School Partnerships across London over the next three years.”

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