Covid-19: Outer London saw 22% rise in cycling in 2020

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New data shows cycling increased dramatically in London last year, with the greatest increases in outer London. Despite overall journey numbers being significantly reduced due to lockdown restrictions, cycling has increased by 22% in outer London compared to spring 2019, with a 7% rise in inner London.

This follows analysis published by TfL in December that showed walking and cycling accounted for almost half of all journeys between April and June last year  Transport for London (TfL) has published new cycle count data that shows increased levels of cycling in both inner and outer London last autumn, as people across the capital continued to use active travel as a vital way of getting around during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite a huge drop in the number of journeys being made overall as more people work from home and people only travel for legally permitted reasons, Londoners have been increasingly cycling to make essential trips and for exercise.

Since 2015, TfL has carried out annual cycle counts in both inner and outer London, usually in the spring. These count the numbers of people cycling past fixed points on the capital’s cycling network over the course of a day.

Significant increases in outer London also suggest that the types of journeys may be changing, as people increasingly use bikes to get around their local area, to access their local high streets and for exercise. TfL research shows people who walk, cycle or use public transport to visit their local high street do so more frequently, and spend up to 40% more than those who travel by car.

“This new data highlights again how, against a backdrop of significantly less journeys being made overall, cycling has been a vital means of transport for Londoners during the pandemic, with a particularly significant increase in outer London as people turn to active travel to get around their local area and for exercise,” says Will Norman, London’s walking and cycling commissioner. “It’s therefore crucial that we ensure roads are safe for cyclists, and we continue to work with the boroughs to deliver new or upgraded protected cycle routes across the capital, to enable people to cycle safely and easily.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).