How many people cycle to work?

There are 762,300 people who cycle to work in England & Wales according to the last Census, an increase of +17% on the previous results. London has the highest growth at +109%, equating to 4.3% of total commuters. Overall, cycle commuters account for 3.0% of all that commute to work.

In Part I of our Travel to Work Report 2013 we looked at overall travel to work habits in the UK and how this has evolved in recent years. Highlights from this first report include;

  • The number who travel to work in England and Wales has surpassed 25 million for the first time.
  • This is a staggering 12,000 million commutes per year.
  • The rise in Commuters (+17%) is greater than the rise in the population (+7%).
  • The proportion of the population who travel to work has increased to 44.7% (2001: 41.0%).
  • London: There are +25% more commuters in London than 10 years ago.

In Part II of our Report, we looked at Travel to Work by Method and how UK cycling commuters compared to other methods of transport. Highlights from this second report include;

  • The number who drive to work has exceeded 15 million for the first time.
  • This equates to 7,325 million car commutes per year.
  • Car Passenger numbers continue to decline and are now almost half the ratio of 1981
  • Most popular method of travel to work, after cars, is On Foot (+20% growth)
  • Congestion Charge helps to slow growth in Car Drivers to just +1% in London (England: +16%)
  • London Bike Scheme helps to grow Bicycle commuters by +109% (162,000) since 2001

In Part III of this report, we focus on what we love most, Cycling.

Travel to Work by Bicycle

So far, we have established that the number of people who travel to work in England and Wales is in excess of 25 million. Not only is that the highest ever level but it is also growing at a faster rate than the increase in population. Additionally, a greater proportion than ever of the population (44.7%) travel to work.

As Cyclists who commute, we compete with other road users, such as buses, taxis, lorries, vans and of course cars. The number of cars available to UK households has increased to 27.3 million, of which, 15 million are used daily to travel to work on 7,325 million journeys.

It is with this backdrop that we take a look at the people who, against all the challenges they face, travel to work on a bicycle.

Report Highlights

  • Commuting by Bicycle has increased by +17% over the past decade, to 762,000
  • Cycle Commuters account for 3.0% (2001: 3.0%) of total commuters
  • London has the highest 10 yr growth at +109%
  • The proportion of Cycle Commuters in London (4.3%) is the highest region

England and Wales762,300651,000667,400800,800
North East20,40016,80015,30020,300
North West70,60066,00072,60087,100
East Midlands59,00062,60066,40078,200
West Midlands50,40052,50055,30071,200
East England100,700100,200113,800142,200
South East127,600119,300126,700155,900
South West90,30076,40074,70080,000

The number of cyclists who travel to work by bicycle has increased by +17% over the past ten years. The 30 year change is an overall decline, although Wales, North East, London and South West Regions have all seen an increase.

London cycling commuters more than doubled (+109%) over the past ten years, at a time when car driver numbers increased by just +1% (England Average: +16%) and the ratio using Public Transport reached record levels; at more than half of all commuters for the first time (52.6%). Our recent article on Cycle Commuters in London goes into this in greater depth. It is perhaps only when we see the London results alongside other regions that we truly see the magnitude of their results against others.

Cycle Commuters Ratio

Cycle Commuters Performance Tables

Top 10 Cycle Commuters by CountyBottom 10 Cycle Commuters by County
1. Cambridgeshire30,5001. Northumberland2,100
2. Greater Manchester25,8002. County Durham2,200
3. Oxfordshire23,8003. Herefordshire3,300
4. Hampshire21,2004. Buckinghamshire3,500
5. West Midlands19,4005. Cornwall3,900
6. Norfolk17,8006. Shropshire4,500
7. Essex14,2007. Dorset5,500
8. Suffolk14,0008. Derbyshire5,600
9. Lincolnshire13,5009. Worcestershire5,800
10. Surrey12,80010. Cumbria6,100

Top 10 Cycle Commuters by TownBottom 10 Cycle Commuters by Town
1. Cambridge17,8001. Merthyr Tydfil80
2. Hackney17,3002. Blaenau Gwent134
3. Bristol16,2003. Isles of Scilly209
4. Lambeth13,5004. Rossendale241
5. Wandsworth13,3005. City of London252
6. Oxford12,3006. Bolsover281
7. York11,3007. West Devon282
8. Southwark10,9008. Torfaen330
9. Islington10,2009. NE Derbyshire332
10. Hull9,10010. Brentwood337

Cycle Commuters vs Motorbike Commuters

Cycle CommutersMotorbike Commuters
 NumbersRatio% ChangeNumbersRatio% Change
England and Wales762,3003.0%+17%214,2000.9%-17%
North East20,4001.8%+21%5,1000.5%-27%
North West70,6002.3%+7%20,0000.6%-25%
East Midlands59,0002.9%-6%15,6000.8%-22%
West Midlands50,4002.1%-4%16,4000.7%-21%
East England100,7003.7%+0.5%22,5000.8%-21%
South East127,6003.2%+7%36,5000.9%-17%
South West90,3003.8%+18%28,5001.2%-18%

Note: Numbers refers to the total number of people who travel to work by that method. Ratio refers to the number of people as a percentage of the total number of people who commute (for all methods). % Change is the ten year change (2011 v 2001).


The report uses data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as provided by the Nomis website and where available will show data by Region, Area and Local Authority, all of which are defined on the Nomis website ( Data is released in stages by the ONS and as such, we have had to focus on England and Wales for this report. We do not wish to alienate the good people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and other parts of the UK but we don’t have data for those areas. We will of course update the report once available. Whilst data is available from 1991 and 1981, it is based on a 10 percent sample size. To enable comparisons to be made with data from 2011 and 2001, we have simply multiplied the data from the earlier years by a factor of ten. This gives a guide and is clearly not scientifically robust.

The source data is attached to this report (at the bottom of the page) for readers to download but no liability can be accepted for those that do so. We would also ask that you respect the Intellect Property and Copyright of the website, it’s Parent Company and that of the Office for National Statistics and ultimately that of the Crown.

Data Source: 2011 Census data from Nomis
Copyright: Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2013

Data Source: 2011 Census: Quick Statistics for local authorities in England and Wales
Copyright: Office for National Statistics © Crown Copyright 2013

Travel to Work by Bike Report 2013

Article on commuting to work by bicycle.

An in-depth look at commuters who travel to work by bicycle from author Mark Taylor onSeptember 28, 2013

In this report, we take a look at UK Cycling habits with regard to commuting and how this compares to other forms of transport and how this has changed in recent years. is a cycling organization run by a group of dedicated cyclists. We publish in-depth articles on a wide range of cycling topics including road bike and mountain bike reviews, cycling news & charity events. In addition, we provide a price comparison tool to compare prices on bikes from all the leading UK bike shops.
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