In the Spring of 2014, the Government released an analysis of the 2011 Census Cycling to Work data. These figures reveal that London experienced a doubling of numbers cycling to work between 2001 and 2011. Other cities with a significant rise included Brighton (increasing by 109%), Bristol (94%), Manchester (83%), Newcastle (81%) and Sheffield (80%).
However, the figures for Cheshire West and Chester tell a different story. Between 2001 and 2011, we experienced a 0.4% drop in the numbers cycling to work. This is in spite of the Cycle Demonstration Town initiative, new maps being produced, the Connect2 projects, and various other infrastructure improvements that were carried out during the ten year period between 2001 and 2011. The figures also fail to reflect any benefit from the effort that the council and others have devoted to ‘soft measures’ such as travel advice, personal travel plans, etc.
The period under analysis ends before the 2012 Olympics and so will not reflect any post-Olympic cycling boom. However, some rise in the numbers cycling to work might have been expected due to the factors mentioned above.
What do you think explains this apparent anomaly? Bad weather in 2011? Wording of Census question? Initial enthusiasm for cycling wearing off after the first flush of CDT initiatives?
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Click the link below to view the full ONS summary of the national Cycling to Work data: