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UK campaign records ‘major’ rise in journeys by bike during Covid-19

Research from the national cycling campaign #BikeIsBest, in partnership with Strava Metro, reveals significant year-on-year increases in cycling across several major UK cities.

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The campaign is using billboards to relay messages to councils and the public
The campaign is using billboards to relay messages to councils and the public

A national campaign to ‘normalise’ cycling is hailing a major shift to pedal power by some of the UK’s major city dwellers during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown but warns more needs to be done by local authorities to realise lasting impact.

 

Research from the national cycling campaign #BikeIsBest, in partnership with Strava Metro, reveals significant year-on-year increases in cycling across major UK cities.

 

Cycling trips

 

According to Strava Metro’s data, in Liverpool, cycling trips have increased by 161 per cent from May 2019 to May 2020, Manchester’s cycling trips are up 127 per cent, while cities like London and Birmingham are up 54 per cent and 55 per cent respectively.

 

The campaign is using billboards to relay this information with the aim of encouraging the wider public to join what it describes as a cycling revolution happening across the UK.

 

Digital billboards outlining the rise in cycling will be placed on roads in cities from Southampton up to Edinburgh, exhorting people to make journeys by bike and urging local councils to facilitate safe everyday riding for residents.

 

More than 60 billboards across nine cities will be used to underscore to individuals that their actions are normal and common. This part of the campaign is being informed by Dr Ian Walker, a psychologist from the University of Bath.

“Cities all over the UK are seeing data that shows a dramatic increase in cycling from when lockdown started. We have a unique opportunity to meet demand and change travel habits now”

Meanwhile, digital billboards in Manchester will directly address Manchester City Council. #BikeIsBest is echoing local campaigners’ frustrations at the council’s lack of action over temporary pop-up lanes and calling on it to create more bike lanes that reflect and protect the influx of greener and more sustainable journeys.

 

Despite the increase in cycling trips across UK cities, campaign organiser Adam Tranter reckons more needs to be done by local and national governments to incentivise the wider public to alter their travel habits.

 

The campaign wants to show cycling as a normal, everyday activity
The campaign wants to show cycling as a normal, everyday activity

“Cities all over the UK are seeing data that shows a dramatic increase in cycling from when lockdown started. We have a unique opportunity to meet demand and change travel habits now,” said Tranter.

 

“Our latest campaign creative is designed to show cycling as a normal, everyday activity and showing that many others are already doing it. By using the latest Strava Metro data, we’re showing the time for change is now.”

 

He continued: “We know that many people want to cycle and for this we need both rapid and continued action in creating infrastructure for cycling. Cities are ripe for temporary and permanent infrastructure that can entice residents to hop out of their cars or make much-needed space on public transport.”

“Cities are ripe for temporary and permanent infrastructure that can entice residents to hop out of their cars or make much-needed space on public transport”

Strava Metro is a partner of #BikeIsBest and claims to be the largest active transportation dataset on the planet. Millions of people upload their rides and runs to Strava every week via their smartphone or GPS device.

 

Metro aggregates and de-identifies this data and then partners with departments of transportation and city planning groups to improve infrastructure for cycling.

 

The campaign is backed by more than 50 of the UK’s leading cycling brands and organisations including British Cycling, Cycling UK, London Cycling Campaign, Sustrans, the Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) and Wheels For Wellbeing.

 

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