There has been a big rise in the number of people prepared to get on their bikes in Scotland … despite doubts over the Scottish Government’s commitment to boost cycling.

A report to be released within days will reveal that the number of pedal-powered journeys on cycleways has increased by 10% in just a year.

While that’s welcomed by campaign­ers, they say that it’s nowhere near enough to meet the government’s tar­-get. Ministers are aiming for one in every 10 journeys to be made by bike by 2020.

Research conducted for the sustainable transport charity, Sustrans, shows that the number of cycle trips on the Scottish cycle network rose from 28.3million in 2007 to 31.3m in 2008.

Surveys funded by the Scottish Gov­-ern­ment suggest that 14% of the cyclists were using the route for the first time, and that there had been a significant increase in the number of people cycling to and from work.

Sustrans Scottish director, John Lauder, argued that where funding, targeting and planning were properly co-ordinated to encourage cycling, people would switch from their cars. His organisation had helped make a “very effective difference”, he said.

But he argued that ministers needed to adopt a more “joined-up approach” if they were going to achieve their aim of making 10% of Scottish journeys by bike. “Much more needs to be done,” he said.

“There particularly needs to be leadership from the top if Scotland is to reduce obesity, improve public health, reduce congestion and carbon emissions and plan ahead to a post peak-oil future.”

About 1% of journeys are currently made by bike in Scotland, compared to 20-25% in Denmark and Holland. According to the cycling campaign, Spokes, Scotland needs to increase the number of cycle journeys by 25% a year to reach the 10% target by 2020.

Earlier this month the Scottish Parliament’s transport committee criticised government policy on cycling as “contradictory”. At the same time as aiming to boost cycling, the levels of public funding were declining.

The committee urged ministers to shift spending in the transport budget in favour of cycling in advance of last week’s budget debate. “At the cost of postponing one modest trunk road project for one year, cycling investment could be doubled,” said Dave du Feu from Spokes.

“This would create literally 100-200 or more cycle projects, and bring new local transport infrastructure and jobs to every constituency in Scotland.”

Paul Tetlaw, chair of the transport campaign group, Transform Scotland, was puzzled by the lack of political support for walking and cycling. “If we are serious about climate change and public health we need to divert some of the billions of pounds currently planned for road building into active travel,” he said.

But the Scottish Government insisted that it was putting “considerable effort” into encouraging people to travel by bike, including funding for Sustrans and other groups.

“However, it is clear there is more to be done,” said a government spokeswoman.

“We would be delighted to hear of how we can maximise the use of the national cycle network. We are committed to continuing its development and encouraging people across Scotland to take advantage of this great resource.”

She added: “The cycling action plan will be published by the Scottish Government in spring next year and we will be using that as a basis to work towards our target of having 10% of all journeys taken in Scotland by bike by 2020.”