New figures from the Department for Transport have revealed the number of people using a bicycle for work or leisure in England has rocketed since the lockdown began on 23 March.
The data indicates daily bicycle use rose by an average of 50% on working days during lockdown, while the number of weekend and bank holiday cyclists shot up by over 136% over the same period. Overall, cycling has risen by an average of 78% during the course of the lockdown, despite the number of cyclists on the road initially falling during early March, according to the research.
The data, which was collected between 8 March and 22 July, used the equivalent day on the first week of March as a benchmark for the data collection period.
Greg Wilson, Founder of Quotezone.co.uk, which launched one of the UK’s first price comparison services for bicycle insurance, said: “Weekend spikes in cycling are perfectly natural, but it’s interesting that as more people began to return to work in recent weeks the level of cycling on weekdays has started to fall back towards the baseline level, yet weekend cycling remains consistently up by more than 100% every day.
“People appear to be favouring socially-distanced exercise even though lockdown measures are easing and gyms are reopening – possibly because they’re keen to capitalise on their recent investment in new bicycle equipment, or perhaps they’re keen to capitalise on their recent investment in new bicycle equipment, or perhaps because of a fear of a second wave is motivating people the shed any excess lockdown weight while keeping their distance. Our bicycle insurance figures reflect these trends, with a 321% month-on-month increase in traffic since lockdown began.”
These figures are good news for the bike industry, as many look to capitalise on the growing momentum behind cycling as an alternative form of travel to the car or public transport.
Perhaps inevitably, though, as the number of cyclists on the roads is increasing so is the level of cycle crime, with reported bike thefts up by 48% in June alone, according to national cycle database BikeRegister.
“We’d encourage people, especially if they have made a significant investment in new bicycle equipment in recent months to double check their their home insurance covers their bike,” continued Wilson. “If their bicycle isn’t covered, or if the single item limit on their home insurance policy means the coverage isn’t enough to meet their needs, we’d advise them to look into a standalone bicycle insurance policy for their new wheels.”