Census 2011 cycling statistics for Bolton

Last week, census data from the 2011 census was released,including data on modes of travel to work for the various local authority areas in England and Wales. A number of people put extracted information relating to various towns from this dataset, so I am doing the same for my own town, of Bolton. If you are easily horrified, then look away now.

I looked at the data on modes of travel relative to the population and did a few sums of my own. The results are a little shocking.

The total population in 2011 was 200,723 compared to 180,746 in 2001. However, when you take out the number of people shown as not in employment, this leaves 123,423 employed residents in 2012 compared to 114,415 in 2011. I then produced tables showing the numbers of people cycling, walking and driving to work:

Year Pop Employed Cycle Foot Car driver
2001 185746 114415 1413 11578 68431
2011 200723 123423 1287 12024 80858

This already looks a bit poor, but when you work out the percentages, it looks frankly pathetic:

Year Pop Employed Cycle Foot Car driver
2001 185746 114415 0.76% 6.23% 36.84%
2011 200723 123423 0.64% 5.99% 40.28%

But maybe we are being a little unfair. After all, not everybody is in employment, as seen from the first table, so what if we take those people out:

Year Pop Employed Cycle Foot Car driver
2001 185746 114415 1.23% 10.12% 59.81%
2011 200723 123423 1.04% 9.74% 65.51%

Well it is slightly better, but do we really think that just over 1% cycling to work is good enough? It certainly isn’t. Even if we take out the people that say they work from home, it doesn’t look much better. The following figures are for the percentage or residents who cycle to work out of those who travel to work:

England 3.12%
Greater Manchester 2.20%
Bolton 1.08%

I have long been of the opinion that Greater Manchester is one of the worst regions in the country as regards the environment for cycling on the roads, with bad, motor-centric design, and the particularly high proportion of careless, inconsiderate and downright anti-social drivers, coupled with a reluctance among the police to deal with aggressive, anti-social and dangerous driving. I also believe that Bolton is one of the worst places in Greater Manchester in this respect. It would seem that the potential cycling public agree with that and vote with their feet, so to speak.

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