The number of people using bikes is not increasing despite investment from local authorities in safer cycling infrastructure, new figures show.

Cycling Scotland's annual country-wide research on attitudes to cycling shows the number of people using bikes for commuting has remained static for the past three years.

The proportion of people who would consider cycling has also fallen each year since 2021 and there remains a gender gap between the numbers of men and women on bikes.

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Cycling Scotland has carried out national, longitudinal research into people’s attitudes and behaviours towards cycling in Scotland since 2017.

Most recent data, from autumn 2023, also shows people from minority ethnic groups are far less likely to have access to a bike than the general population.

Denise Hamilton, Head of Communications at Cycling Scotland, said: "This research provides a picture of how attitudes and behaviours towards cycling across Scotland are changing over time. "Most people now recognise the benefits of cycling, including health and happiness, saving money and it being a lot better for our environment than driving.

"However, road safety remains the biggest barrier to more people cycling and our new research focusing on people from minority ethnic backgrounds in Scotland shows significantly lower levels of access to bikes and confidence in riding a bike."

The survey, which spoke to people from most local authority areas across Scotland, shows bike ownership has fallen slightly from that recorded in 2017 and 2019 when 43% of respondents said they had access to a bike; for 2023 the figure was 37%.

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Men are still more likely to access to a bike than women, at 43% versus 31%; and people from middle class backgrounds, at 44%, were more likely to have a bike than those from working class backgrounds, at 29%.

The total proportion of people who would consider cycling has fallen each year since 2021. The figure sits at 40% for 2023 but was 43% in 2022 and 45% in 2021.

Those cycling at least once a week has also remained consistent over the last few surveys - 12% in 2021, 12% in 2022, and 10% in 2023.

The biggest barrier to more people cycling continues to be road safety - more than two thirds of people in Scotland consider not feeling safe enough on the roads as a main barrier to cycling.

Ms Hamilton said there remains significant work to be done to encourage more people to use bikes.

She said: "To make our roads safer, a network of dedicated cycling lanes, separated from traffic, is the biggest priority to enable anyone to cycle - and it’s really encouraging that two thirds of people in Scotland support the reallocation of road space in their local area for cycling.

"We also need to continue to support more people to access bikes and cycle training.

"We encourage anyone with an interest in everyday cycling to read this research."

The analysis reveals access to bikes and confidence in using bikes stand out as significant barriers to cycling for minority ethnic groups.

Less than one in five people from an ethnic minority background said they have access to an adult bike in their household compared with more than one in three of the general population.

There were also signs that a lack of confidence in using a bike prevents more people from minority ethnic groups from cycling.

Of those respondents who said they would consider cycling more in future, 49% said they would travel by bike more if they were more confident, compared with 37% of the general population.

Overall, the survey suggests Scots have a positive attitude towards cycling with 62% of the general population support re-allocating road space for cycling in their area.

Some 88% agreed that people who cycle improve both their health and their wellbeing while 78% agreed that, for the sake of the environment, it would be better if more people cycled - both figures are an increase from 2022.

But, as in previous years, people are more likely agree that cycling is better for the individual than it is for society.