The Cycleplan Blog

Remarkable statistics about UK cycling

You probably don’t need to be armed with the latest Government statistics to know that cycling has been growing in popularity in the UK over the last few years.

Through a combination of hero figures like Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Lizzie Armitstead doing a fantastic job of flying the flag, and viewership of competitive cycling, cycling has never been more popular.

But what are the figures behind the big rise in the popularity of cycling? We’ve brought some standout statistics from reputable sources to give a quantitative summary on our favourite mode of transport. Check out these remarkable statistics about UK cycling:


Sadly, one of the more dark statistics is the recent rise of serious injuries to cyclists in recent years. According to the Department for Transport (DfT), there was a large rise in 2014 of seriously injured cyclists to 3,401. This compares to a figure of 3,143 individuals seriously injured in 2013 (RoSPA), making 2014 witness an 8.2 per cent rise in such injuries.

Cycling can be a fun hobby or competitive pursuit, a great way to stay fit or a way to speed up your daily commute, but these figures underline just how important road safety is every time you get into the saddle.

Who is cycling

Further 2013/2014 figures from the Government show on average, 15% of UK adults find time to cycle each month for any purpose. Broken down by local authority however saw some very interesting figures come to light.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, Cambridge was the local authority who had the highest % of adults cycling at least once per month in 2013/2014, registering a whopping 57% of adults getting on the saddle each month. Reasons behind Cambridge being such a popular pursuit with cyclists could include its cycle friendly road network, flat geographic profile and large student population.

Rounding out the top five for cycling popularity amongst adults per month were Oxford (39%), South Cambridgeshire (33%), Isles of Scilly (33%) and York (32%).


There are also more distinct patterns in terms of spread across age and gender numbers. On average 20% of males cycled for any purpose per month versus half of that in 10% of females. It is also interesting to note on the above diagram how after a slight rise in both genders in the 35-44 popularity stakes, cycling steadily is generally even before declining as the population ages.

Bite size statistics

  • 65% of Brits cycle less than once a year or never, that’s approximately 37.7m people (NTS 2013)
  • The level of cycle traffic has been on the up each year since 2008 (TRA)
  • 44% of people over five have access to or own some form of bicycle (NTS 2013)
  • Only 1-2% of UK children cycle to school, contrast this with a figure as high as 49% in the Netherlands (Cycling in the Netherlands 2009)
  • 2013 saw UK bicycle sales of approximately 3.35 million units (Coliped), over 1 million more than cars sold in the UK (Vehicle Stats)

That sums up our interesting stats about cycling. To help protect yourself in the event of an unfortunate incident, consider a cycling insurance policy.

Got some interesting statistics of your own? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

2 Blog Comments

  • cyclemum

    I cycled for 6 months with my 10 year old son to school and back, and there are simple reasons why children don’t cycle to school.
    1. The cycle routes are a mix of roads and pavements mixed with pedestrians, part of which is alongside a busy dual carriageway.
    2. The surprising abuse he received from male cyclists who wanted him to abide by road “keep to the left” rules (he is 11, he hasn’t passed his driving test!) yet on cycling the other direction then wanted him to move to the right. ( in either direction they wanted to drive a young child towards the busy 40mph DC so they could keep their cycling line, and i was right behind him, cycling in single file every time. The fact that these men could be verbally abusive and aggressive to a child which i doubt they would have done to another man is shocking and frightened my son.) The cycle lane in question at the time was a single wide pavement designated cyclists and pedestrians with no lanes or direction markings.
    3. That many cycle lanes are pavements mixing pedestrians with cyclists. As with the damage a car can do to a cyclist, so too can a cyclist do to a pedestrian. Especially when many are wandering with earphones and oblivious to cyclists coming up behind them.
    4. The abuse from the older pedestrian generation on mixed cycle/ped routes(this particularly surprised me)
    5. The car driveways that cross pavement cycle lanes, and at school run time, when children are cycling to school, the risk of cars backing out of their drives to take their children to school and not considering the bikes on the pavement cycle route is common.

    and finally
    6. The dangers around the schools from all the illegally parked cars dumped everywhere from parents who don’t want to risk all of the above.

    To give some clarity : My son was quite a small 10 year old.
    We cycled for 6 months, through hail , rain and -4 degrees. The journey was 2.5 miles to school (which I then cycled back from) so he cycled 5 mile per day, (i did 10) I cycled behind him, coaching him in the beginning on crossing roads, bike handling and awareness of other people, always give way, and assume people haven’t seen you or aren’t aware you are there. Give plenty of notice to change line, and indicate your intentions. After a while, i used to cycle behind him, just to keep an eye on how he was handling himself and the bike ready for when he was old enough to cycle to school himself, but the traffic, roads, and conditions are treacherous.

    The positive side was immense :
    He arrived at school wide awake, ready to learn.
    Regardless of how cold it was outside, he arrived in the classroom warm and healthy even in the depths of winter.
    He suffered from no viruses or colds in that time, and the heating in the house had to be turned much lower or off.
    He no longer complained about PE outside in the winter, (it’s amazing how children today think they shouldn’t do Games/PE outside if it’s cold!)
    It gave him an added confidence.

    Some 30% of children are now said to be obese,. walking to school will not solve that. But my view is cycling to school is not as it was 30 or 40 years ago.
    A suggestion in an ever expanding population would be to close the roads(towns) for one hour every morning and afternoon say 8am to 9am and 3pm to 4pm.
    Children/ parents would have to walk or cycle to school, but the roads would be traffic free, so they could be on the roads.
    My belief is, that whilst this would cause uproar initially, people would get used to it, and plan accordingly.
    Many adults would take the opportunity to cycle to work on the traffic free roads, and there wouldn’t be a great increase in traffic outside of those hours, and much of the traffic in those hours is school run traffic(borne out by how quiet the traffic goes in school holidays)

    Cycling is one of the best forms of everyday exercise, particularly when some days the wind is with you, and it is exhilarating, and others , against you, and it is just damn hard work. And the best thing, it doesn’t seem like exercise!

    It would take a strong council leader/MP to trial something like this…..but it may be the only way to instigate change, 1 to 2% of children cycling to school is a frighteningly low number and a sign of things to come!

    Reply to cyclemum
    • CPBlogAdmin

      Great post and insight! We agree that cycling is a great form of exercise and we hope your son continues to enjoy it…

      Reply to CPBlogAdmin

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