Steady growth in cycle commuter numbers over the last decade has seen a 17 per cent rise in commuters switching to two wheels.
In England and Wales 760,000 now cycle to work, up from 650,000 in 2001.
The numbers have been gleaned from census data by Halfords, which cites British success at the Tour de France and Olympics as well as the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme as key drivers behind the rise. Cycle to Work can now be used for cycle ‘safety equipment’ only, following confirmation from HMRC.
Halfords has found that, in particular locations, the bike is even threatening the car in popularity as the regular choice of transport, in cities that have introduced special routes and catered for cyclists.
Just over six out of ten use the car, though growth has slowed. Walking has seen a major upturn, up 20 per cent, as has taking the train, up 42 per cent and light rail or underground, up 45 per cent.
“As one of the biggest providers of ‘Cycle to Work’, we know just how popular this scheme has become, with growing interest from both employers and employees who are aware of how other transport costs are rising and how cycling is beneficial to their health," said Halfords spokesperson Keith Scott.
“It means less pollution and less traffic. The census figures reveal cycling is no longer just for a minority and shows how planners have to consider all road users when looking at the commuting habits in our towns and cities."
Halfords studied the transport habits of almost 350 major towns, councils and metropolitan areas in England and Wales that are detailed in the 2011 Census.
There’s more on this Census report, including which towns and cities have the highest number of commuter cyclists, here.