Cycling levels drop by more than 20% in Hartlepool - experts say these are the reasons

One in 13 people in Hartlepool cycle at least once a week, figures show.

Friday, 2nd August 2019, 3:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th August 2019, 9:35 am
Picture c/o Pixabay

The Department for Transport has just released the results of an annual survey, which reveals how often people cycle in England.

In Hartlepool there were 299 respondents, who answered questions about their travel habits between November 2017 and November 2018.

Of those, 8% said they cycled at least once a week. This is below the England average of 11%.

Cycling is becoming less popular in Hartlepool. The survey suggests 21% fewer people are cycling weekly than in 2016-17.

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Out of the respondents, 2% were keen cyclists and used their bike at least three times a week.

The survey found cycling for leisure was more popular than for travel, with 6% of people cycling at least once a week for fun, while 2% commuted by bike.

Nationally, the number of cyclists has slightly fallen over the last year.

Xavier Brice, chief executive of Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, said: “Much more needs to be done overall to increase cycling across the nation.

"Evidence shows that when dedicated space for riding a cycle is provided, an increase in cycling levels will follow.

"In Bristol, a city where 75-miles of cycle routes are physically separated from vehicles, 25% of residents cycle at least once a week.

"The Government has a responsibility to make active travel easier, safer, and more appealing than driving for short journeys, and this can only be achieved through large scale investment in walking and cycling infrastructure."

The charity Cycling UK appealed to ministers to tackle the perception that cycling is a dangerous activity.

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns, said: "Despite the Government recognising the need to encourage and enable more people to cycle regularly for health and environmental reasons, unfortunately the proportion of trips made by bike has remained largely static for 20 years.

"When asked what stops people from cycling more often, the common response is that it’s too dangerous. The reality is that cycling is not a dangerous activity, but it’s this perception which needs to be tackled.

"To do this, we need to build cycling routes separated from motor traffic, safe for a 12 year old to ride along. That requires at least a doubling of current spending on cycling and walking, which must be a priority for the Department for Transport in the forthcoming Spending Review."