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Latest cycling rates, nationally and Harrogate and York

29th June 2015

Riders at the Big Bike Bash Harrogate

The percentage of people in England cycling at least once a month remained stable at 15% in the latest statistics, but there were significant increases in 35 local areas. 21% of Harrogate residents cycle at least once a month.

Local walking and cycling rates in England for the year to mid-October 2014 were published by the Department for Transport on Thursday 23rd June 2015. The figures are dervied from the Active People Survey carried out by Sport England

National trends

The DfT's Statistical Release for 2013/14 shows that the percentage of people walking (for 10 minutes or more) at least five times per week is up in many areas - with Leeds showing the biggest increase, from 40% in 2012/13 to 55% in 2013/14.

15% of adults cycled at least once per month (unchanged from 2012/13), and 9% cycled at least once per week. More cycling (once a month) is for recreation (10.3%) than utility (6.5%). The sum of these percentages is 16.8%, which is only slightly higher than the total of 15%, showing that not many people cycle for recreation and utility. There were significant increases in cycling rates, in 2013/14 as compared to the previous year, in 35 local authority areas.

The local authority area with the highest adult cycling rate (at least once per month) is Cambridge (57%). This table shows the top five local authorities:

Cambridge 57%
Oxford 39%
South Cambs 33%
Scilly Iles 33%
York 32%

In London, the adult cycling rate (at least once per month) has gone down from 15.7% in 2011/12 to 14.2% in 2013/14. Inner London boroughs have higher cycling rates than Outer London boroughs.

Harrogate, York, and Yorkshire

York bike rescue

Cycling rates are available for local areas, including Harrogate, York, and Yorkshire. However, the sample sizes are small, and especially where cycling rates are a modest percentage of about 500 people, the statistics need to be treated with caution.

In Harrogate (sample size 503), 90% of people walk, and 21% cycle, at least once per month (see table 0101). In York (sample size 499), 90% of people walk, and 32% cycle, at least once a month. In Yorkshire & the Humber (sample size 10,484), 85% walk and 13% cycle.

The percentage of people cycling five times a week (see table 0111) has changed over four years as follows:

2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14
Harrogate 2.1% 3.4% 1.4% 2.1%
York 10% 10% 8.6% 9%
Yorkshire & the Humber 2.3% 2.5% 2.3% 2.1%

In Yorkshire & the Humber, these percentages of people cycled (see table 0112):

1x/month 1x/week 3x/week 5x/week
12.9% 8.0% 3.9% 2.1%

These figures show the percentage of people doing recreational and utility cycling at least once a week (see tables 0321 and 0401):

Harrogate York Yorkshire
Recreational cycling 11.3% 6.5% 5.2%
Utility cycling 3.1% 18.4% 3.5%


This shows that there are currently many more people cycling for recreation than for utility in Harrogate, the opposite to York. Harrogate comes seventh in England for the percentage of people cycling for recreation once a month.

The preponderance of recreational cyclists in Harrogate (11.3% once a week, and 17.2% once a month) has implications for the local Cycling Delivery Plan, which is focused on utility cycling. It is certainly not wrong to create the infrastructure which will encourage new cyclists to use bikes for work and shopping. However, it would be unfortunate to ignore people who cycle already, mainly for recreation. The plan should therefore include measures to make cycling safer and more pleasant for them, including traffic calming, speed limits, and advisory signs on rural roads popular with cyclists.

Cycling and age

Although cycling rates broadly decline with age, they dip at 25-34, then rebound at 35-44. See this graph:

Cycling rates and age graph