Why we Cycle, How Often—and How Safe is it?
With 16.9 adults in England riding a bicycle at least once a month—nearly 1 in 3—cycling is one of the most popular forms of leisure activity, exercise and transport. We dug into the popularity of cycling in different areas of Britain as well as the odds of death or injury.
How Often Brits Cycle
Across England, 30% of adults cycle at least once per month. One in five cycles once a week, and 6% cycle 5 times a week for either transport (e.g., to get from one place to another) or leisure (e.g., exercise) purposes.
|How Often Adults Cycle in England||Millions of adults||Percentage of adults|
|Once per month||16.9||30%|
|Once per week||11.9||21%|
|Three times per week||5.7||10%|
|Five times per week||3.4||6%|
Who Cycles the Most for Leisure and Transport?
Cycling for leisure is very popular in the south (except for London). In the South West, South East and East of England, nearly 1 in 10 adults cycle for leisure at least once a week. In terms of cycling for transport, it is no surprise that Londoners cycle the most given the cost of alternative transport and congestion in town. In fact, 8.6% of Londoners cycle for transport at least once a week.
Percentage of Adult Cycling at Least Once a Week
|For Leisure||For Travel|
|East of England||9.1%||7.7%|
|Yorkshire and The Humber||7.3%||4.7%|
How Dangerous is Cycling in England?
Of cyclists, 48% think it's too dangerous to cycle on the road. People who do not cycle are more wary of road safety, with 68% reportedly thinking it's too dangerous to cycle on the roads in England. But what do the real stats tell us about road safety?
In 2017, 61 men and 13 women cyclists lost their lives whilst cycling. Fewer men were killed than in previous years, with the number dropping from 89 killed in 2013. Numbers have remained relatively flat for women (11 killed in 2013, with fluctuations up to 15 in 2014 and down to 9 in 2016).
|Number of Cyclist Killed in England and Wales||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
In terms of the rate of deaths for cyclists, there were 29 killed per billion miles in 2016. This rate has decreased recently, with 45% fewer killed in a road traffic accidents per billion miles in 2016 than in 2005. However, over the same time period the number seriously injured per billion miles rose by 21%. Safety must remain a key priority—be sure your bicycle has a regular service maintenance to avoid accidents resulting from problems with your brakes, gears, chain, etc.
|Rate of Cyclists Injured or Killed in England per billion miles||2005||2016||Percentage Change|
Bicycle Theft Statistics UK
Over 300,000 bikes were reported stolen in 2018. There's no way to know the actual number of thefts given many are not reported, but the real number is surely higher. Nonetheless, it seems the odds of having your bike nicked have gone down over the past 15 years. Over this time, the value of bike sales in the UK has more than doubled, but the number of reported thefts has actually decreased. In fact, reported thefts are down 15%.
|Reported Bicycle Thefts in England and Wales year ending|
If you'd like to protect yourself against theft or attempted theft, you may decide you need a pedal cycle insurance policy.
For more information on the riskiest times of day, days of week and locations in terms of bike theft, please see our article on Bicycle Theft Statistics.
Top Tips to Help Prevent Bicycle Theft
You can decrease the odds your pedal bike is stolen by following a few key steps. They will help deter both the opportunistic thief as well as more seasoned offenders.
- 1. Always lock your bicycle (preferably with at least a Sold Secure-rated gold or silver U-lock)
- 2. Lock your bicycle to a solid, immovable object that is a closed loop
- 3. Make the lock harder for thieves to access by locking your bicycle low down, near the ground
- 4. If using a flexible cable or chain, wrap it tightly to make it more difficult for a thief to manoever
- 5. Lock your bicycle in a well-lit area, where there's CCTV and either in a public place or in a locked building
Buying cycle insurance can help provide financial protection in case your bike is stolen. While many home insurance plans include cover for bicycles, check the fine print on your policy. There are typically limits (which may be as low as £300) and cover may not extend to "away from home" unless you pay extra. To learn about the cost of adding bicycle cover onto a policy that doesn't include it, read our article on the cost of home insurance extras.