Hackney leading cycling revolution in capital as one in ten people get on their bike to work

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch

Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch - Credit: submitted

Hackney is helping lead a cycling revolution, according to MP Meg Hillier, who was vice-chairman of a report encouraging the nation to get on their bikes.

The parliamentary inquiry produced by a cross-party of MPs aims to increase the number of journeys made by bike fivefold – from less than two per cent to ten per cent by 2025. MPs visited the borough to see how it has managed to double the number of commute trips in a decade and were “really impressed”.

The Hackney South and Shoreditch MP, who spent four months working on the report which was published last week, said: “Hackney is leading the way. Historically we did not have good transport links so there’s been a large group of people cycling for a long time.

“We’ve also had a good strong local campaign group. The local branch of London Cycling Campaign has been very active. Thirdly we’ve got a political leadership with a lot of cycling councillors. They have tried to ensure that cyclists are catered for when there have been any changes to the roads.

“Where Hackney leads the way is not pushing for segregation of cyclists. Instead it’s made roads safer and more comfortable for them.”

Only days before the inquiry was published, Sports England statistics released by the Department of Transport showed that nearly in 10 adults in Hackney cycles at least five times per week – putting the borough ahead of the rest of the capital

This means that the borough comes top in the capital and fourth nationally - out of a total of 326 local authorities.

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Earlier this year, figures published from the 2011 census showed that more residents in the borough cycled than drove to work. The statistics showed that 15.4 travelled to work by bike while only 12.8 per cent travelled by car or van. It is the only borough where the number of cyclists outnumber drivers. The average number of people who cycle to work in inner London is 7.2 per cent.

Ms Hillier encouraged more people to get on their bikes, saying: “I do not commute cycle. I carry my child on a bike. I did not think I could do that. If I can do it at my age and my level of unfitness, anyone can do it.” She added that she had done bike training as an adult and it had “made a difference”.

The council have set aside £195,000 from this year’s budget for cycle training including national standards for children and adults and cyclist awareness for HGV drivers.

They will also be spending £915,000 this year to improve the environment for cyclists including providing more cycle parking.