The number of people using a bicycle for work or leisure in England has rocketed since the lockdown began on 23 March, according to figures released by the Department for Transport.
The data reveals that daily bicycle use rose by an average of 50% on working days during lockdown, while the number of weekend and bank holiday bike riders shot up by 136% over the same period.
Overall, cycling has risen by an average of 78% during the course of the lockdown, according to the research, even though the number of cyclists on the road initially fell during the early stages of the quarantine in late March.
The research, carried out from 8 March to 22 July, used the equivalent day on the first week of March as a benchmark for the data collection period.
Responding to the new data, Greg Wilson, founder of Quotezone.co.uk – which launched one of the UK’s first price comparison services for bicycle insurance – says: “These figures are fascinating because they suggest the pandemic has triggered something of a lifestyle change.
“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% per 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 because a fear of a second wave is motivating people to shed any excess lockdown weight while keeping their distance.
Our own bicycle insurance figures reflect these trends, with a 321% month-on-month increase in traffic since lockdown began.
“We’d encourage people, especially if they have made a significant investment in new bicycle equipment in recent months, to double check that their home insurance covers their bike. 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.”
Department for Transport statistics: