CYCLING rates in York have plummeted in the last 10 years - with a council transport chief admitting they are "far too low".

City of York Council has adopted an Active Travel Programme, which has invested £3.3 million of Government funding in a bid to ensure that walking, cycling and public transport will account for 50 per cent of all journeys made in York by 2030.

Cycling journeys peaked at 49,000 in York in 2014. But since then, data provided by City of York Council reveals a steady decline in journeys recorded.

In 2017 there were 39,000 cycling journeys, but by 2023 that figure had fallen to 31,745. During the pandemic there was a substantial dip in the figures before recovering in 2022 and subsequently falling again.

Explaining the fall, the council's executive member for transport, Cllr Pete Kilbane said: "The York data does show that the decline in cycling rates since 2015 has halted.

"However, the rates are still far too low, and they need to double if York is to achieve its sustainable transport ambitions.

"The good news is that in the recent transport strategy consultation the majority of residents told us that they want safe and connected routes so that they can cycle more.

"The residents want it, and the council is in tune with their aspirations. Now it up to the whole city to deliver a cycle network that is safe and convenient for everyone to use."

York Press: Cllr Pete KilbaneCllr Pete Kilbane (Image: Newsquest)

Andy Shrimpton, co-owner of Cycle Heaven in York and member of York Cycle Campaign (YCC), hit out at the data.

He said: "At York Cycle Campaign we feel that they (the figures) reflect a complete lack of an effective strategy for, and therefore investment in, active travel within this city going back many, many years.

"Couple this with a growth in car use, a continued increase in the size of cars and a deterioration in the state of the roads, and there is no wonder that cycling has been in decline.

"It’s just not been an very attractive prospect to cycle the way things have been going."


Another member of YCC, who wished to remain anonymous, said he wasn't surprised by the figures.

He said small cycle improvement schemes - including work in Navigation Road,  Coppergate, and at the Barbican - had been completed, he said they did not connect with complete routes without facing challenges such as dangerous junctions.

"In the last three years, all that Active Travel England money has gone where exactly?" he said.

"Shipton Road and Bootham, and Tadcaster Road should have fully segregated, amazing lanes.

"The city centre should have an active travel hub with secure parking, and a full audit of cycle parking should be carried out.

"Primary schools should all have a crossing within 100 metres. All schools should have low speeds.

"Barriers that fail the equality act should have been dealt with.

"We should have cycling in the city centre."