Cycling revolution gathers strength

New research figures show that cycling in the Liverpool City Region has risen for the sixth year in a row, beating targets set out in the Local Transport Plan.

Figures collected from automatic cycle counters at 67 sites across Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral have been published by Mott McDonald, on behalf of the Merseyside Transport Partnership, in the 2013/14 Merseyside Cycle Monitoring report and show that cycle usage is on the increase.

The twelve month period up to March 2014 showed an 11.9% increase in cycling across the Liverpool City Region. These figures mean that there has been an increase of 62% since 2006 and six years of continuous growth.

A target of a 12% growth in cycling from 2010/11 to 2014/15 had been set in the Third Local Transport Plan for Merseyside, which was developed and delivered by Merseytravel together with the local authority partners. That target has been comfortably met with a 34% increase, almost three-fold the original target.

Merseytravel has introduced a number of different projects and schemes aimed at increasing the amount of people cycling across the city region, including:

• Provided cycle training to over 10,500 primary and secondary school children in the past year.
• Giving over 120 bikes to jobseekers to help them get back into work.
• Free Bike Maintenance sessions, showing people how to take better care of their bicycle.
• Promoting National Cycle to Work Day with a special event encouraging people to give up four wheels in favour of two on their daily commute through advice and information.
• Working with the train companies to improve facilities for cyclists at train stations across the region, helping commuters and tourists.

The local authorities across the region have also invested in infrastructure and other programmes in recent years including Liverpool Council’s new “City Bike” hire scheme, which launched earlier this year, and the Choose Freedom projects in the north and south of Liverpool helping people to access employment by sustainable transport modes, including cycling.

Both Liverpool and Knowsley Councils also successfully hosted stages of the Tour of Britain this year, bringing world-class cyclists onto the region’s roads.

Councillor Liam Robinson, chair of Merseytravel said: “It’s great to see that year-on-year, more people are continuing to take up cycling across the city region.

“Cycling not only helps to reduce congestion on the roads, but also provides a great way of staying fit and healthy and can reduce travel costs.

“With some of the projects and schemes that we are implementing alongside our partners in the local authorities, we hope that those levels will increase again next year.”

More information on how to get into cycling as well as details on the many free organised bike rides taking place across the region each week is available on the Travelwise Cycling website at www.letstravelwise.org/cycling