In Hackney, 15.4 per cent of residents use a bicycle when travelling to work – the highest number in London. This compares to seven per cent of Tower Hamlets residents and 4.1 per cent of Lewisham residents cycling to work. Croydon has lowest rate out of the four ELL boroughs with 1.3 per cent of people choosing the bicycle over using the Overground.
The recently released figures, drawn from the 2011 Census by the Office of National Statistics, also reveal 12.8 per cent of people from Hackney drive, in stark comparison to Croydon where 40.9 per cent of people drive to work.
In a survey released in October 2012, carried out by British Cycling, 52 per cent of people said they were motivated to cycle as a result of the achievements of Team GB’s cyclists at the Olympics. In addition, 87 per cent of those who said they were inspired to cycle by the Games were also encouraging their children to get out on their bicycles.
According to Hackney Council, in some areas of the borough as many as 20 per cent of people cycle to their job. This is three and a half times higher than the average across the capital.
Councillor Feryal Demirci, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and the Councils cycling champion said: “It’s fantastic that more Hackney residents are cycling than ever. We will continue to make every effort to make cycling as safe and easy as possible in Hackney, encouraging drivers and cyclists to share the roads”
The council said the introduction of a 20mph speed limit on all residential roads cycle skills training in the borough’s schools and development of the pioneering Safer Urban Driving course for HGV drivers have added to more and more people cycling.
A spokesman for the London Cycling Campaign said providing opportunities for cycling could prove cost-effective for the government. Cyclists expressed their disappointment earlier this month at the 100 per cent price rise in the cost of hiring London’s “Boris bikes,” from £45 to £90 a year, but felt they are still saving money on driving.
The number of Hackney council employees cycling to work has doubled in six years, rising from 6 per cent in 2004 to 12 per cent in 2011. The council set itself the target of 20 per cent of Council staff frequently cycling to work by the end of 2013.
Trevor Parsons, coordinator of the London Cycling Campaign in Hackney said: “A factor was the council’s willingness to redesign junctions and one-way streets to include cycle lanes, and the ability to cycle in all council parks, such as London Fields. A key change was the removal of the ‘racetrack’ Shoreditch gyratory system, which was both a hazard and a danger to cyclists in the south of the borough.”
David Ryes, 24 said: “My mate got me and my girlfriend into it, he cycles with the Cycling Club Hackney. We live in Dalston and both work in Canary Wharf and use to get the Overground to work each day, now we both cycle to work for exercise.”
He added: “I spent about £255 a bit pricey but saved on gym membership and my girlfriend Jen hires her bike.”
Dennis Whittlers, 66, said: “My doctor advised my to get exercise as I suffer from high blood pressure. I hired a London bike and started cycling around Dalston. I feel much better after cycling and bring my grandchildren on Sundays cycling around Victoria Park.”