Edinburgh leads way for Scottish cycle use

Cyclists in the Meadows area of Edinburgh - where residents are most likely to pedal to work. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Cyclists in the Meadows area of Edinburgh - where residents are most likely to pedal to work. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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ONE in ten people in parts of Edinburgh now commute by bike amid a one third growth in cycle use across the country, Cycling Scotland revealed today.

Residents of the Meadows and Morningside are the most likely to pedal to work - 9.9 per cent - the Scottish Government-funded development agency said.

Ministers are attempting to increase cycling across the country to this level within five years.

Commuters in Newington and Southside were in second place, with 9.3 per cent going by bike.

City council wards in Edinburgh accounted for 12 of the top 20 highest cycle commuting areas, with Highland, Moray and Fife taking the other places.

The Ness-side area of Inverness - one of four in the city to make the table - was the highest outside the capital, at 6.2 per cent.

Forres in Moray achieved 5.8 per cent, while the Tay Bridgehead area of Fife was at 4.6 per cent - or nearly one in 20 commuters - and St Andrews 4.4 per cent.

Cycling Scotland said the figures had been extracted for the first time from the 2011 census.

By contrast, its report found that virtually no one cycled as their main form of transport in two other areas of Scotland.

Both Inverclyde and East Renfrewshire had a 0 per cent score, compared to 2.5 per cent in Edinburgh, which was topped only by Clackmannanshire at 3.5 per cent.

The first Annual Cycling Monitoring Report 2015 said cycling across Scotland had increased by 32 per cent in the last 12 years.

Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “The increase in some figures is a positive sign but there is still work to be done to achieve our shared vision of 10 per cent of journeys by bike by 2020.”

Cycling Scotland chief executive Keith Irving said: “The report demonstrates how cycling is truly becoming an everyday activity for more people of all ages and abilities in many places across Scotland.

“We need action across Scotland to enable the vision of 10 per cent of journeys by bike to be reached, and today’s report helps demonstrate where we need to renew our efforts.”

Kim Harding, a founder of the annual Pedal on Parliament cyclists’ lobby of Holyrood, said: “This survey shows clearly people are not wedded to their cars.

“They will switch to other forms of transport if and when these are made easy and convenient.

“It is notable the areas which are reporting the highest levels of cycling are those where people find it relativity easy to find motor traffic-free routes for most of their length of the journeys.

“It is also clear the urban areas which have invested in providing traffic-free infrastructure are the ones where cycling rates are highest.

“It also shows that with real political leadership and proper investment, the 10 per cent target is achievable.”

John Lauder, national director of cycle path developers Sustrans Scotland, welcomed the increase in cycle commuting overall to 2.5 per cent from 2 per cent three years ago.

He said: “This identifies that the focus on designing and building infrastructure to encourage people to choose to travel by bicycle must remain.”

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