Fewer people walking in Sheffield but more get on bikes, show figures

The number of people walking in Sheffield fell during the Covid 19 pandemic, new figures have revealed, although more have got onto bicycles.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:36 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 10:36 am

Official Government figures show that the proportion of adults who walked at least once a week in the city overall fell to 65.5 per cent between November 2019 and November 2020, from 70.6 during the previous 12 months.

One of the causes may have been people not walking to work or other appointments during lockdown, as the proportion of adults who walked at least once a week for travel fell from 49.3 per cent to 34.7 per cent, while those walking for leisure rose from 44.4 per cent to 50 per cent.

The city was ranked at 249th out of nearly 350 local authorities for the percentage of people walking at least once a week

Pedestrians cross the road using a toucan crossing outside Sheffield train station. Picture: Andrew Roe

For the same time periods, the number of people cycling at least once a week rose from 8.7 per cent to 9.7 per cent.

Again, the percentage using that form of transport for travel had fallen, from 4.4 per cent to 3.7 per cent, but the number using it for leisure was up from 6.2 per cent to 6.8 per cent. Sheffield was ranked 231 out of nearly 350 areas for the proportion of adult residents who were cycling at least once a week.

Cycling and walking were reported to have become much more common during the pandemic amid growing appreciation of ‘the outdoors’ and fear of public transport .

In January it was reported that nationally, 34 per cent of cyclists were cycling more than they were before the pandemic, while 38 per cent of walkers are walking more, according to the latest National Travel Attitudes survey from the Department for Transport.

Rachel White, Head of Public Affairs at Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity said: “We must focus on making it easier for more people to walk and cycle by providing the necessary infrastructure and support, so that those who would like to start walking and cycling for everyday journeys but currently do not feel able are encouraged to do so.”