Boost in numbers of people cycling on the Isle of Wight since lockdown

The new £2bn Government package includes new statutory guidance which instructs councils to reallocate road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians

cyclists in yarmouth

Islanders locked down during the Coronavirus crisis have been getting on their bikes, new figures reveal.

Research has shown that in some parts of the Island, those taking up cycling has dramatically increased since government lockdown measures were introduced in March.

Doubling of figures
Daily average cycle volumes recorded by off-road counters at Ladies Walk, Ryde, Island Harbour and along the Newport to Sandown cycle track doubled last month compared to previous years.

On Saturday 9th May, the Red Squirrel Trail (Newport-Cowes section) saw its busiest day since data collection began in 2014 with 718 people recorded cycling on this section.

Ward: “considering additional measures to progress on the Island”
Councillor Ian Ward, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said the lockdown had inspired a new generation of cyclists on the Island.

He said:

“Cycling is a low cost mode of transport which can make a positive contribution to physical and mental health, and can be an attractive mode of transport for many short distance journeys on the Island.

“The council welcomes the recent government announcement on cycling and walking and is actively considering which additional measures to progress on the Island.”

Key worker bike scheme
The council’s Key Worker Scheme, part of its Access Fund programme, has now provided more than 100 loan bikes and over 500 £50 cycle repair vouchers to key workers since mid-April.

Bicycles have become a key social distancing tool as residents try to avoid crowded spaces on buses and trains.

People choosing cycling for their daily exercise and others shifting from public transport to cycling for essential journeys, could also account for the recent cycling boom.

This is all in the context that 44 per cent of people are now working from home, compared to 12 per cent this time last year.

Reallocating road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians
Councillor John Hobart, Cabinet member for heritage and the environment, highlighted the positive environmental impact of more people choosing pedal power over the car.

He said:

“If there is something positive to take from this terrible crisis, it could be that it’s offered a taste of the air we might breathe in a low-carbon future. I think we have all noticed the improvement in air quality with less carbon emissions from motor vehicles on our roads.

“The challenge now is to maintain mode share as the lockdown measures are eased.

“To assist with this, the Department for Transport has recently announced a new £2 billion package to create a new era for walking and cycling.

“The announcement includes new statutory guidance which instructs councils to reallocate road space for significantly-increased numbers of cyclists and pedestrians.

“I also think it is a time to consider our connecting routes, such as The Gunville Greenway, aimed to run from Newport, through Gunville and on out to the West Wight, following the railway track as close as possible.

“Routes like this, if designed correctly for multi-users, would take cyclists, horse riders and walkers off our roads as well as making a great way to connect parts of the Island and work well with our tourism offer.”

News shared by Isle of Wight council press office. Ed

Image: © Visit Isle of Wight

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6 Comments on "Boost in numbers of people cycling on the Isle of Wight since lockdown"

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This is a very good idea for all sorts of reasons. Environment, obviously; physical health (why I started when the gym shut); mental well-being. You may also like to consider that cycle paths / tracks are much cheaper to build / maintain than roads and every cyclist is one less car journey in your way. Lastly, as I meander around the West Wight, I am astonished by… Read more »
Definitely noticed more cyclists and wish they would adhere to the 2 metre guideline when whizzing past pedestrians walking on the pavements. We had no choice but to walk on a fairly narrow pavement yesterday and about a dozen or so cyclists just came close past us even though there was no other traffic on the road allowing them space to pull out to avoid us by… Read more »

If there isn’t a crackdown on this it will become normal behaviour as it did where I lived before I moved here.

The IWC don’t maintain the cycle routes they already have. Little point in spending more money when they will neglect the routes a few months later. Most people are just enjoying having the time to cycle. Once back at work it will be different again. I suggest the councillor gets the opinion of cyclists when he suggests “multi-use” routes. The recent IWC proposals for cycle routes was… Read more »
Marvellous to hear that more people are cycling, but what I would like to see are are (a) more cyclists with bells on their bikes to use when they are getting close to someone from behind, and (b) more cyclists using handlebar mirrors to see what is going on behind. I had both when I cycled many years ago – not sure I can remain upright these… Read more »
It’s a pity these people don’t obey rules of the road. Pavements are for walkers,one way streets mean one way only-cyclists are a menace and the council has no need to spend money on extra cycle lanes for these people as they will still use the footpaths. One moron passed me on the cliff path yesterday,blindly ignored the ‘dismount’ sign and carried on cycling,smoking dope. When I… Read more »