Journeys by bike estimated to drop over the next 25 years

Government faces further criticism over cycling projections

New UK government figures estimate that the number of average journeys made by bicycle and their length are set to drop over the next 25 years.

The National Transport Model predicts that car use is to grow instead. Given that an independent survey yesterday estimated that participation in cycling is at an all-time high, it must be asked whether now is the high point for cycling in the UK.

The new official figures released by the government body indicate that the average amount of cycle trips is set to decrease from 22.1 per person annually in 2015 to 20.5 in 2040 with the average length decreasing from 2.5 miles to 2.2 miles over the same period.

Car driving is tipped to increase over the same period from 447.6 trips to 507, with the average journey length going from 9 miles to 9.2 miles.

The projections were revealed following a parliamentary question raised by national cycling charity CTC (Cyclists' Touring Club). The results also run contrary to the government's Cycling Delivery Plan, which hopes to double the number of people cycling by 2025, although the forecasts do not currently take into account any possible effects of said Delivery Plan as it is still in development.

Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy director at CTC, said: “These figures show the glaring mismatch between the Prime Minister’s aspiration for a ‘cycling revolution’ and the DfT’s predictions where the ‘revolution’ has failed to start and is even rolling backwards."

“Public health professionals are flagging up an obesity time bomb. Big business is calling for investment in cycling. Now is the time for government to provide the funding, leadership and ambition in their 10 year cycle plan that CTC has long been calling for.”

These latest figures are likely to lead to further calls for the government to guarantee significant funding as part of their policy to encourage more people to get cycling by 2025.

Gregor is BikeRadar's Beginners and Family section editor after leading a cycling heavy youth and regularly clocking up more than 34 miles on the ride to work each day. He's interested in the lighter side of cycling, such as commuting, children's bikes and the occasional short sportive. He also helps to keep BikeRadar's forum in check, and can often be found joining in conversation threads on how to step chafing and the like.

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