New figures shows cycling has continued to increase in popularity since entering phase three of lockdown

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NEWLY released figures has  revealed cycling across Scotland has continued to increase in popularity since entering the third phase of lockdown.

The statistics released by Cycling Scotland showed that July saw a 44% increase in the number of cyclists compared to last July.

Data from 46 of Cycling Scotland’s nationwide automatic cycle counters was reviewed, comparing cycling rates in July 2020 with July 2019.

And in 10 locations across Glasgow, Fife and East Renfrewshire the increase topped 100 per cent, headed by counters in Irvine (182 per cent) and Lenzie (140 per cent).

The information was collected as part of the National Monitoring Framework, managed by Cycling Scotland and funded by Transport Scotland, to monitor cycling rates across the country.

The 44 per cent increase follows rises of 68 per cent in April, 77 per cent in May and 63 per cent in June compared to the same months last year.

In addition, Cycling Scotland more than doubled the number of automatic cycle counters it used to collect data this month – up from 22 in June 2019 to 44 – providing an even more comprehensive snapshot of the number of people getting on their bikes.

Cycling has increased in Scotland since entering phase three of lockdown
(l to r) Ben, Maya, Ava and Paula Wyllie from Annan on one of Cycling Scotland’s Essential Cycling Skills courses. Image supplied

Cycling Scotland Monitoring and Development Officer, Natalie Cozzolino, said: “We were concerned that the progressive lifting of many lockdown restrictions would lead to a big drop in the number of people cycling so it’s encouraging to see that although there’s been a decrease in July, the nation’s renewed interest in cycling is still continuing.

“By the end of the year, we will have a better understanding of the medium-term impact of COVID-19 on cycling in Scotland. Continued action is needed more than ever to support an increase in cycling.”

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “I’m pleased to see a higher rate of cycling in July compared to the same time last year. Through our COVID-19 response we’re working hard to keep this momentum in cycling going across the country. The Scotland Cycle Repair Scheme is a key part of this approach in addition to our green recovery efforts.

“This scheme is encouraging people to safely bring older and unused bikes back onto our roads and onto the new temporary cycling infrastructure that local authorities are delivering through the £30 million Spaces for People initiative.

Cycling Scotland and other organisations have worked hard throughout lockdown to support people to start cycling.

The nation’s cycling organisation has been piloting a new Essential Cycling Skills course to help families build the skills and confidence to cycle safely.

The 2.5-hour sessions – which are free until the end of August – are delivered by experienced instructors who can tailor the course contents to the specific needs of the family.

Since 8 June, 80 sessions have taken place across Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Fife and the Borders with 234 people taking part.

These courses are for families who want to cycle on traffic-free routes and quieter roads and provides the skills to negotiate road journeys safely.