BRADFORD has the lowest proportion of cyclists in England, with only one in 21 people riding their bike at least once a week, according to new figures.

The Department for Transport has just released the results of an annual survey, which reveals how often people cycle in England.

In Bradford there were 1,756 respondents, who answered questions about their travel habits between November 2016 and November 2017.

Of those, five per cent said they cycled at least once a week. This is well below the England average of 12 per cent.

The survey also suggests 35 per cent fewer people are cycling at least once a week, compared with 2015-16.

David Robison, director of Capital of Cycling and chair of the Bradford Cycling Campaign said the figures were “disappointing”, but said there was no silver bullet.

He said: “It’s all part of a jigsaw puzzle, there’s a lack of investment in cycling infrastructure, we need more cycle training in schools, we need bikes for disadvantaged and poorer kids, often parents don’t know how to cycle so they can’t teach their kids.

“We are so car-focused as a city, it’s really difficult for people to get their heads around the idea there could be a different way. It’s seen as an unusual thing to do.

“I cycled my daughter into nursery and people look at her in the trailer and go ‘oh, look at that!’ as if they’ve never seen anything like it.

“I just got back from Copenhagen – it’s completely normal there, most people cycle their kids to school.”

He added: “There are some good things being done [in Bradford], but it’s not nearly enough to avert the health crises we’ve got unfolding.”

Mr Robison said worries about traffic, driving styles, hills and weather can act as barriers.

“Bradford does have a particular reputation for driving styles, uninsured drivers and things like that – it doesn’t help – but they’re all things that don’t need to stop cycling growing,” he said.

“The evidence is in other cities they’ve successfully grown cycling even with similar obstacles.”

Despite the figures, he said had perceived an increase in the number of cyclists in Bradford.

“My perception is not a scientific analysis, it is just what I’ve seen,” he said.

“I think the Tour de Yorkshire and the infrastructure that has been built has had a positive affect.”

And to those who would like to give cycling a go, he said: “If you’re keen to do it, come to talk to us because we can give you advice and offer suggestions for help.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We are committed to continue to open up the cycling opportunities to residents of the district and visitors. These figures from the DfT are already a year old and recent figures have shown a record number of people have been making the most of the summer using the Bradford Leeds Cycle Superhighway. Between May and July almost 120,000 trips were made.

“In Bradford we have invested in cycling infrastructure for future generations and to make it easier for people to cycle safely and we are already starting to see the fruits of this investment. This is all part of our Cycling Strategy, which was created with the wider cycling community, and looks at the full range of ways that people can get involved in cycling from sports and club related participation and cycling as a leisure activity to cycling as a mode of transport for getting to work and school.”

While Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, added: “Bradford district is a fantastic place for cycling. We have some great cycling routes across the district for both commuters and leisure riders, as well as some brilliant teams and cycling clubs producing some amazing cycling talent, including the largest cycling club in the UK in Ilkley.

“We have played a key role in the Tour de France Grand Depart and Tour De Yorkshire, working closely with Welcome to Yorkshire on both events. The North of England Cyclo-Cross Championships will be held in Peel Park later this year and next year the UCI Road World Championships will come to Yorkshire.

“Given the health benefits we always encourage more people to take up cycling.”