Almost 2,000 people are traveling through Scotland’s capital by bike each day, according to new analysis.

Traffic data collected by Cycling Scotland recorded a daily average of 1,812 bikes on the cycleway on Leith Walk, with a peak of 2,107 journeys on 30th May.

Scotland’s national cycling charity said the growing network of cycle routes in Edinburgh is encouraging record numbers of people to travel by bike.

A total of 219,070 bike journeys were recorded along the route between January 2024 and the end of May 2024 – almost double the number recorded over the same time period in 2022 (117,969).

Data shows that cycling volumes are at their highest during commuting times, indicating many people are using the route for everyday journeys.

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The route has also recently connected to the newly opened 4km City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL), which runs from Roseburn to Picardy Place via Haymarket Train Station, and is already seeing increases in cycling.

Leith resident Elspeth, who uses the Leith Walk and CCWEL routes to cycle to work in Edinburgh Park several times a week, said: “I use the Leith Walk cycle lanes regularly – for travelling to work but also for lots of other shorter journeys, like popping into town or visiting friends.

“The separated cycle lanes have made my bike journeys so much more relaxed, and thanks to CCWEL, it’s now almost completely on separated cycle lanes. It means I can go whatever pace suits me without feeling rushed with traffic on my tail.

“I love how it gives me independence and allows me to get about town. I find getting around by bike is great for my physical and mental health, and I love the passing waves and nods from other people on bikes in the morning.”

Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around EdinburghCycling is an increasingly popular way to get around Edinburgh (Image: NQ)

Data was captured by an automatic counter located on the cycle path at Picardy Place, one of Cycling Scotland’s nationwide network of counters, funded by Transport Scotland to help measure cycling levels across Scotland.

In addition, a survey organised by Cycling Scotland to monitor traffic over a 48-hour period between 15th and 16th May, found that bikes accounted for 9.1 per cent of all journeys on Leith Walk, a level rarely seen in Scotland.

On the other side of the city centre, Melville Street also recorded a high cycling modal share of 6.4%.

The number of cycling journeys in Edinburgh is up 12% compared to May 2023, and up 19% compared to May 2022.

The sustained growth in bike journeys seen on Leith Walk comes after the completion of fully separated two-way cycle lanes along the 2km route, as part of the Trams to Newhaven project, connecting communities in Leith and Edinburgh’s city centre.

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The route was developed by City of Edinburgh Council, with funding from the Scottish Government.

Rowan Simpson, Monitoring and Development Officer at Cycling Scotland, said: “It’s really encouraging to see more than 2,000 people are cycling on Leith Walk each day – yet more evidence that where Scotland builds networks of connected cycling routes, separated from vehicle traffic, more people travel by bike.

“We know that road safety is the single biggest barrier to more people cycling, and the early success of Leith Walk and City Centre West to East Link underlines the critical role of safe, convenient, separated cycle routes, if more people are to choose cycling for short and medium journeys.

“With transport the largest source of carbon emissions in Scotland, we need to help more people to cycle, walk and wheel safely. Investing in dedicated, separated cycling lanes, limiting polluting traffic growth and helping everyone to access bikes, training and bike storage are all key actions to reduce our climate impact and improve health.”

Leith walk from the air Leith walk from the air (Image: NQ)

Transport and Environment Convener of City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Scott Arthur, said: “These are really exciting counts that showcase the significant growth in cycling on Leith Walk following completion of the Trams to Newhaven project and the connection with the recently opened City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL).

“The Leith Connections project will be continuing the segregated cycle infrastructure and public space improvements, from the Foot of the Walk northwards, first to Commercial Street and ultimately to Ocean Terminal in the north, Hawthornvale path in the west and Seafield in the east.

“This improved connectivity, and better active travel and public transport links support our wider ambitions to achieve net zero by 2030 and active travel across Edinburgh.

“Once the Leith Connections project is complete, this improved route will not only provide a safer environment for people walking, wheeling and cycling but will transform the area to create a more pleasant, welcoming space to spend time.”