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Best cities for cycling – as cost of living drives 35% to swop car for bike 


Bicycle enthusiasts have been told the best cities for cycling, after data revealed 35% say they’ve swapped some car journeys for biking or walking as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.*

Bicycle insurance experts at Quotezone.co.uk have revealed the 20 most cycle-friendly cities based on the number of mapped cycleways for pushbikes, across the UK.

Cycleways are high-quality cycle routes that are easy to navigate – linking communities and businesses – ensuring riders of all levels can feel safe and confident.

The Department for Transport’s National Travel Attitudes Survey has shown that due to the cost-of-living crisis, 35% of Brits now choose to cycle or walk some of their journeys, rather than getting behind the wheel.

The cost of driving has rapidly increased over the past few years – notably, the rise in fuel prices (petrol now costs over 150p per litre for the first time in 12 months**), as well as the soaring cost of car insurance, with premiums now up by over 50%.***

This means that many Brits are now thinking twice about driving – with cycling being a healthier, and significantly cheaper option.

Around 2.6 million cars are being taken off UK roads each day because of the swap to walking or cycling.****

With millions of Brits making the change from four wheels to two, experts have now looked at the best cities across the nation for cyclists – based on the number of mapped bike ways each area has.

The research shows that London is the best city for cyclists with over 300,000 cycleways – Edinburgh follows in second place with almost 100,000 less paths.

Only seven of the top 20 cities have over 100,000 mapped ways, and 13 have over 50,000.

The majority of English cities on the list are in the South, with just four from the North of England (namely, Carlisle, York, Liverpool and Hull).

All three capital cities across the four nations feature on the top 20 list – with Belfast being the city to just miss out on a top 10 place, ranking in eleventh with just under 60,000 mapped ways. 

Lee Evans, bicycle insurance comparison expert at  Quotezone.co.uk said:  “It’s tough at the moment as the cost-of-living crisis starts to squeeze all aspects of our lives, with fuel prices and car insurance costs skyrocketing, making fewer motorists able to afford driving, but it is a positive step forward to see more Brits consider cycling as an option.

“People are reconsidering those quick, jump in the car journeys and substituting them for walking or cycling which is great for their health and a positive step forward in reducing the number of cars on the roads – improving the environment and our physical and mental wellbeing. 

“Many cities have begun to make changes to their road layouts to help bike users to travel more safely – or have introduced measures to cut down on the number of vehicles allowed to drive through the main centre.

“If these pedestrian trends continue and more cyclists try substituting cars and public transport, the hope is more investment will come from government and local authorities to focus on growing bike lanes in urban areas.

“As it stands currently, Edinburgh (outside of London) has been revealed as the best city for cyclists, with 208,059 mapped ways for cycling. London tops the ranks with 300,873.

“Three Scottish cities (Edinburgh, Inverness and Glasgow) are all in the top ten most cycle-friendly cities, as well as one from Wales (Cardiff). The only city from Northern Ireland to make it into the top 20 was Belfast – with 59,077 mapped cycleways.

“Inner city cycling can be very dangerous especially if not on one of the dedicated cycleways so it’s important all road users be aware of each other and respectful of the time and space cyclists need.  Cyclist and bicycle insurance can help safeguard both bike and rider incase of an incident.”

Here are the top 20 cycle-friendly cities across the UK, from Quotezone.co.uk:

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For all types of bicycle insurance, including electric bike, Quotezone.co.uk can help.


Please note there was no data available for the following cities: Newcastle, St. Albans, Westminster, St. Asaph and St. Davids.

Number of mapped ways sourced from BikeMap (correct as of 18/09/23) – https://www.bikemap.net/




This article is intended as generic information only and is not intended to apply to anybody’s specific circumstances, demands or needs. The views expressed are not intended to provide any financial service or to give any recommendation or advice. Products and services are only mentioned for illustrative rather than promotional purposes.

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