Bolton had one of the lowest proportions of cyclists last year

Jane Wilcock, a member of Friends of Longsight Park in Harwood believes there are obstacles as to why people are not leaving their cars at home.

This includes ensuring pathways are up to a good standard and having protected cycle lanes.

Data has revealed Bolton had one of the lowest proportions of cyclists of anywhere in England last year.

The Active Lives Survey from Sport England is used to assess how much exercise people are getting across the country.

Figures from the survey, compiled by the Department for Transport, show five per cent of people in Bolton were cycling at least once a month in the year to November 2022 – one of the lowest rates in the country.

This was a fall from 7.3 per cent in 2019, before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Across England, 16.1 per cent of people said they biked once a month in 2019 – this has since fallen to 13.1 per cent.

According to the Active Lives Survey, much of the dip in cycling across England has come from fewer people cycling for leisure – 13.1 per cent did so at least once a month in 2019, compared to 9.2 per cent last year.

Bolton saw a drop over the same period, from 6.9 per cent to 4.6 per cent.

Jane said: “Cycling is a great way to keep fit. Challenges in Bolton can be rain, ice, hills, and cars parking in cycle lanes.

“The lack of protected cycle lanes puts many cyclists off.

“Hopefully Bolton Council is creating space for cyclists in its new inner Bolton renewals and numbers will improve.

“Many more people would also walk if the pavements were in good shape.

“Some areas have no pavement at all – Tottington Road for example.

“Bradshaw road is a very poor pavement despite road resurfacing. Nobody would find a wheelchair or buggy comfortable up there.

“Our public footpaths are historically underfunded, grants rarely donate to footpath infrastructure repair.

“Locally we have a closed footpath at Duncan View for years as lack of council budget to repair it and many other paths require resurfacing.

“A local broke her leg last autumn tripping over unmaintained wire fencing and was near the fence side of the public footpath as avoiding the big puddle in the middle of the path!

“Others have fallen, and their glasses have broken.

“Bolton is a beautiful town and refurbishing it as a go to walking and cycling area would require little investment compared to population health benefits and tourism accrued.

“My message is, facilitate the infrastructure and lots of Boltonians will cycle and walk.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Planning, Housing and Highways, Cllr Hamid Khurram, said: “In Bolton, we want to encourage more people to choose active travel in order to reduce congestion, lower emissions and improve their own fitness.

“To achieve this, we are delivering a number of key infrastructure projects and working with partners on initiatives to make it easier and safer for residents to travel by bike.

“We have already completed a fully segregated network to the south of Bolton town centre, which is in accordance with government guidelines for pedestrian and cycle infrastructure.

“The council is extending this scheme along Manchester Road to Farnworth, which links the infrastructure to the Farnworth Streets for All project.

“We will also shortly be implementing the ‘Bolton Town Centre East’ and ‘Town Centre to Doffcocker’ active travel schemes.

“By utilising government funding, we are developing proposals for ‘Bolton Town Centre West’, Farnworth, Horwich, Westhoughton and Astley Bridge to Crompton.

“Alongside this work, we promote the benefits of bike travel through campaigns such as ‘Cycle September’ and ‘Let’s Keep Bolton Moving’.

“The borough is home to Wheels for all Bolton, a nationally recognised programme which promotes inclusive cycling.

“Meanwhile, our colleagues at Transport for Greater Manchester offer cycling classes, bike maintenance courses, and ‘Bike Libraries’.

“All these things taken together mean there has never been a better time to take up cycling in Bolton.”

If you have a story or something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at [email protected] or DM me on Twitter @chloewjourno.


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