Northern Ireland news

New survey finds Belfast only city in UK to see increase in people regularly cycling

The report found Belfast is the only city in the UK to see an increase in people regularly cycling

BELFAST is the only city in the UK to see a notable increase in people regularly cycling since 2019, according to a new survey.

The Walking and Cycling Index 2021 reveals that the number of people who cycle at least once a week in Belfast has increased from 12 per to 17 per cent.

But despite the increase, there has been no change in mileage of cycling infrastructure. Belfast has just two miles of cycle lanes that are physically separated from traffic and pedestrians.

The survey, which is the biggest assessment of walking, wheeling and cycling in cities and towns across the UK and Ireland, has also found people want more investment in walking, wheeling and cycling.

Belfast residents said they want more government spending on walking (60 per cent), cycling (58 per cent) and above all public transport (66 per cent).

This compares to just 29 per cent demand for spend on driving.

Findings also reveal that the percentage of women cycling in the city at least once a week has more than doubled from five per cent to 11 per cent since 2019.

But there are still twice as many men (23 per cent) who cycle at least once a week compared to women.

The Walking and Cycling Index surveyed more than 24,000 people from 18 cities and urban areas across the UK and the Republic. It was produced for Belfast by Sustrans in partnership with the Department for Infrastructure.

Caroline Bloomfield, Sustrans NI director, said: "We are really pleased our latest report provides data and survey results for walking and wheeling for the first time since we began these surveys in 2015.

"It is especially important to shine a spotlight on walking given 54 per cent of people in Belfast walk five or more days a week. The independent survey provides clear evidence that the residents of Belfast want greater investment in active travel and public transport to provide alternatives to the car.

"Given the crises we face such as significant obesity levels and climate change, our government must do more to enable active travel to improve our health and reduce carbon emissions from transport."

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