Cycling is not practical for most people's transportation or commuting needs

According to figures obtained by the Office of National Statistics1:

  • 49% of the population in England and Wales travel less than 5 km to work
  • 68% of the population in England and Wales travel less than 10 km to work
  • 83% of the population in England and Wales travel less than 20 km to work

At a very modest pace of 20 km/h, it would take a person 15 minutes to travel 5 km by bike, 30 minutes to travel 10 km and an hour to travel 20 km. These journey times are less than the average journey times for trips of the same distance by car in many urban locations, such as London2. The figures may also be misleading, as some travellers for example may make part of their journey by train but can use a bike to get to and from trains stations.

The average distance travelled to school in Great Britain is 4 km, a distance which can be easily cycled in less than 15 minutes3

The average distance travelled for the purposes of shopping in the Great Britain is less than 7 km4, although this figure is skewed upwards due to the current trend for driving to outlets which offer abundant free parking necessitating their situation in remote locations where enough land is available to be given over to car parking. Improving the provision for cycling makes shopping locally more viable than it is currently by car.

Many of the journeys which people currently make by car are distances easily covered on a cycle5:

  • 22% of journeys in the UK are under 1 mile (1.5 km), 21% of these are made by car (a distance easily cycled in 5 minutes or less)
  • 19% of journeys in the UK are between 1-2 miles (1.5-3 km), 60% of these are made by car (a distance easily cycled in 10 minutes or less)
  • 28% of journeys in the UK are between 2-5 miles (3-8 km), 80% of these are made by car (a distance easily cycled in 20 minutes or less)
  • This gives a cumulative total of 69% of journeys made in the UK being under 5 miles (8 km), a distance easily cycled by the vast majority of people.

1 ONS: Distance Travelled to Work

2 Average Speed of a Car in London

3 DFT: Average Distance Travelled to School

4 DFT: Average Distance Travelled for Shopping

5 Sustrans: Usage and Monitoring