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by Liam Kirkaldy
23 September 2020
COVID lockdown brings increase in cycling rates

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COVID lockdown brings increase in cycling rates

Increased rates of cycling seen at the start of lockdown have been sustained since March, according to new data from Cycling Scotland.

The new figures show the number of journeys made on bike between March and August 2020 was 43 per cent higher than the same period last year.

But the data suggests the increase may be slowing from a peak in May, when 77 per cent more bike journeys were made across Scotland compared with the same period in 2019.

Cycling Scotland chief executive Keith Irving called for more investment in cycling infrastructure, such as bike lanes, as well as additional support to help the public access bikes, training and storage.

He said: "We expected that the progressive lifting of lockdown restrictions in most areas would affect cycling numbers and for the second month running we are seeing these increases start to slow slightly. It's heartening that cycling is still a third higher this August compared to last year.

"As we move into winter, the public health evidence clearly suggests we should try to be active and outside as much as possible. Cycling - and walking and wheeling - are great ways to achieve this."

The Programme for Government contains additional funding for active travel, with Nicola Sturgeon describing the investment as part of plans to “promote healthier and more active lifestyles for all”. 

Responding to the new figures, Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said ministers would aim to help encourage a long term increase.

He said: "This is why we have committed to invest over £500m in active travel over the next five years.

"By improving our match-funding offer for permanent infrastructure at the same time, it will help our local authorities make some of the temporary changes permanent where appropriate.

"Coupled with continued investment in high impact behavioural change initiatives, delivered through Cycling Scotland and other active travel partners, I believe we're well placed to deliver an active nation - where more people can walk, wheel and cycle for everyday journeys."

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