Sustrans’ Copenhagen-inspired crowd assessment to help city planners build a concrete case for cycling

Cities, combined local authorities and London boroughs are being invited to enter a competition to join Bike Life, a partnership project run by the walking and cycling charity Sustrans and designed to help transform cycling in UK cities.

Working with Sustrans’ research and monitoring team, successful applicants will produce reports capturing data on infrastructure, travel habits, public attitudes and the impact of cycling, as well as a range of thematic publications focusing on air pollution and inclusive cycling.

Joining the project will help participating cities build the case for cycling and inform planning at a local level whilst shaping the political and funding landscape for active travel across the UK.

Greater Manchester’s cycling commissioner Chris Boardman has recently highlighted findings of Bike Life 2017 in the ‘Made to Move Strategy’ to underpin his call for £1.5bn of funding to transform the Greater Manchester.

The Scottish Government also committed to rolling out Bike Life in seven cities in Scotland, starting this year.

Xavier Brice, CEO at Sustrans said: “We are thrilled to be extending Bike Life to more cities and local authorities in the UK. We want to work with and support cities that have already shown leadership and are committed to developing cycling for their residents.

“Investing in cycling is key to keeping our cities moving, and improving their health and economic vitality. Since its launch in 2015, Bike Life has provided invaluable insights into public attitudes to cycling showing people want to cycle more but the lack of safe infrastructure holds them back.

“With Bike Life, city leaders and transport planners can develop a long-term approach that can underpin strategies, be used to evaluate progress whilst showcasing how cycling is good for all of us.”

Launched in 2015, Bike Life is the UK’s biggest assessment of cycling in seven major UK cities: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Greater Manchester and Newcastle, and includes an independent survey with a representative sample of 1,100 residents aged 16+ in each city.

Bike Life 2017 showed four out of five people (78%) wanted more protected bike routes built to make cycling safer, even when this could mean less space for other road traffic.

Following funding from the Freshfield Foundation, Sustrans is now extending the project to ten cities, with each selected city being asked to match fund £15,000 per year from April 2018 until March 2022, to cover one third of the total costs.

Bike Life is based on the Copenhagen Bicycle Account which began in 1996 to document development in cycling, identify challenges and inform planning in the capital of Denmark – currently the world’s most cycle-friendly city.

Are you currently building a case for cycling in your area? Check in with CI.N’s library of historical data and research here for more concrete evidence to back your efforts. 

The Bike Life competition closes on 28 February 2018. To download the application and supporting guidance go to