Cycling sees “modal share” in Scotland increase five-fold

20 July 2020    

Cycling Scotland’s twice-yearly nationwide monitoring survey across 97 locations shows the share of people cycling vs using other forms of transport increased to 3.44% in May 2020.

Organisation’s Scotland-wide network of automatic cycle counters reports continued lockdown-rise (62.75%) in people cycling in June compared with June last year.

On Monday 20 July, Cycling Scotland has released the results of its twice-yearly nationwide all-traffic survey.

Taking place in May and September every year at around 100 locations across Scotland, the all-traffic survey counts how many people use cars, taxis, vans, HGVs, buses, coaches and bikes to get from A to B.

The analysis found that cycling’s modal share – the percentage of people using different types of transport – rose from 0.67 per cent in May 2019 to 3.44 per cent in May 2020, a five-fold increase.

The figures for other forms of transport were (May 2019 vs May 2020):

  • Car: 83.26 down to 78.8 per cent.
  • Taxi: 2.14 down to 0.85 per cent.
  • Vans: 9.49 up to 11.69 per cent.
  • HGV: 2.27 up to 3.48 per cent.
  • Bus: 1.74 down to 1.10 per cent.
  • Coach: 0.17 down to 0.14 per cent.

Cameras were positioned for 48 hours to count traffic in 97 places across Scotland. Locations included: Airdrie, Arbroath, Ayr, Barrhead, Bathgate, Broxburn, Denny, Dumfries, Dundee, Dunoon, East Kilbride, Elgin, Falkirk, Forres, Glasgow, Hamilton, Helensburgh, Lanark, Larbert, Neilston, Stirling and Stranraer. 

Cycling Scotland Monitoring and Development Officer, Natalie Cozzolino, said: “It’s encouraging to see such a dramatic increase in modal share, albeit from a low base.

“Although this is a nationwide picture and there are variations by area, this rise in cycling’s modal share is in line with the increase we’ve seen in people cycling throughout lockdown, which has been sustained to-date.”

The news comes as June monitoring data shows parts of Scotland continue to see a sustained increase in people cycling during lockdown.

According to statistics released today (Monday 20 July) by Cycling Scotland, a counter in Dundee (Arbroath Road) recorded an increase of 230 per cent in June, with Denny seeing a 300 per cent uplift, compared to June 2019.

The information was collected as part of the National Monitoring Framework, a network of permanent automatic cycle counters managed by Cycling Scotland and funded by Transport Scotland, to monitor cycling rates.

The nation’s cycling organisation compared the average number of people cycling per day in June this year to June 2019. Across all counters from which data was available, the number of people cycling increased by 62.75 per cent. 

Cozzolino added: “Less traffic is one of the reasons more people are cycling and to sustain this change in travel habits long term, it’s essential we increase our network of dedicated, separate, inclusive cycle lanes. 

“Supporting access to bikes and places to store them is also key to enabling more people to choose travel by bike, helping us address the climate emergency we face and creating a healthier, sustainable future for everyone.”