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2001 to 2011 - cyclist numbers change significantly

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The number of people cycling to work has gone up in England and Wales by 17% from 2001 to 2011. In some areas, cycling is booming, but in others it is declining.
Hull's cycling culture is gradually declining, despite some improvements
Hull - despite some improvements - the culture of cycling is gradually declining

I've already mapped the changes in cycle use by share of commuting trips in highway authorities.

Other maps showing the changes by district authority, and other modes, such as the changes in car commuting, are also available.

Changes in the number of people cycling is another way of looking at the Census data. Since 2001 there have been huge increases in the number of people who cycle in urban areas, especially London, Brighton, Manchester and Newcastle.

In many rural areas and small towns (especially in the east) there is still a culture of cycling for everyday transport, but even here, there is a rapid decline in the number of people cycling.

This is in part because, whereas in cities car use has reached saturation due to congestion and lack of car parking space, in many rural or small town areas there remains the opportunity for car use to increase, sometimes displacing cycling.

What else do we learn from this? The change in London has been profound, but other locations have also seen huge increases in cycling.

Brighton has seen a 118% increase in the numbers of cyclists, and the local authority is busy building innovative cycle facilities, reducing speeds and increasing permeability for cyclists - all measures which should maintain this growth.

On the other hand North Norfolk - a rural district - saw a 37% decrease in the number of cyclists. Yet just a few miles away, in Norwich, the number of cyclists increased by 19%. In other words, policies to increase cycling are working in urban locations, but cycling's rapid decline in other rural and suburban locations may be masking this. 

Two factors are pulling against each other here: the re-urbanisation of cities, where density of population is rising and car use is falling, and the continuing expansion of suburban, lower density car dependent developments on the edges of towns and cities.

 

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