More people getting on their bikes in South Tyneside
The first coronavirus lockdown saw shortages at bike shops and councils reorganising streets to encourage cycling and walking – and more people in the borough have kept on pushing the pedals, according to data from the Department of Transport.
Nationally the proportion of people regularly cycling has decreased but eight per cent of adults in South Tyneside biked at least once a week in the year to November 2021 – up from 7.2% the year before.
This was also a rise from 6.6% in the year to November 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.
It was a different story nationally, where the proportion of adults cycling once a week or more fell to 9.1% in 2021, having remained between 11% and 12% since 2016.
Sustrans, a campaign group for better walking and cycling, said the figures show there is still a need to make active travel "safe, accessible, and welcoming".
A spokesman said: "During the pandemic, when there were fewer cars on the road, people took to their bikes.
"It’s sad to see this return to expensive and pollutant car-use."
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “The Government is investing a record £2bn to enable more walking, wheeling and cycling through better infrastructure, cycle training and active travel prescriptions.
“Though cycling levels have returned from the exceptional levels we saw during the pandemic, we remain fully confident our investment will enable many more people to choose cycling and walking for everyday journeys by 2030.”