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Figures reveal big differences in cycling popularity across Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 17:57 09 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:46 09 September 2018

Figures have shown a big difference to cycling rates across Norfolk. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Figures have shown a big difference to cycling rates across Norfolk. Picture: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

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Campaigners have urged action to make cycling easier and safer after big differences in its popularity across Norfolk were revealed by new figures.

Part of the cycle path between Gaywood Road and Edward Benefer Way in King's Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.Part of the cycle path between Gaywood Road and Edward Benefer Way in King's Lynn. Picture: Matthew Usher.

OOne in six people in Norfolk cycle at least once a week, the results of an annual survey by the Department for Transport show.

In Norfolk there were 3,212 respondents, who answered questions about their travel habits. Of those, 16pc said they cycled at least once a week, which is above the England average.

However the results revealed big differences. In Norwich, where cyclists have seen the benefits of £14.1 million worth of funding across the city’s seven cycle routes, called ‘Pedalways’, a quarter of people used their bikes at least once a week, with 20pc using them to commute.

In contrast, in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk only one in nine respondents cycled at least once a week, while in North Norfolk the figure was 12pc. The popularity of cycling in both areas had actually fallen compared with the same survey in 2015-16.

One of the new cycle lanes on Golden Ball Street in Norwich. Picture: Denise BradleyOne of the new cycle lanes on Golden Ball Street in Norwich. Picture: Denise Bradley

MJ Ray, planning consultant with King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Bike Users’ Group, which campaigns for better cycling infrastructure, said: “Five years ago West Norfolk was the borough with the most cycling but over that time Norwich has come up and we have fallen away.

“There has been a lot of investment in Norwich particularly with Pedalways and also over in Great Yarmouth with Pushing Ahead, whereas the west and north of the county as far as I can tell has just been left to crumble.”

One in seven people in Great Yarmouth cycle at least once a week, the figures show, but this is a 30pc increase from the last survey.

Xavier Brice, of Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, said: “This confirms what is already widely known – that good quality cycling infrastructure combined with behaviour change programmes is responsible for increased cycling uptake.

Cyclists can now ride down more Norwich city centre's streets. Picture: Dan GrimmerCyclists can now ride down more Norwich city centre's streets. Picture: Dan Grimmer

“Protected cycling infrastructure also helps break down a barrier for those people who don’t cycle because of safety reasons, a number one concern according to the data.”

In South Norfolk 17pc said they cycled at least once a week, but only eight per cent commuted by bike; while in Waveney the figures were slightly higher at 19pc and 10pc.

In Broadland and Breckland 14pc said they cycled at least once a week, both were increases on the previous survey.

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