EFFORTS are being made to increase the number of regular cyclists in Keighley and Bradford, says the council’s transport chief.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw spoke after it was revealed the district had the lowest proportion of cyclists in England.

Figures compiled by the Department for Transport revealed that only one in 21 people across Bradford district rode their bike at least once a week.

The annual survey, which reveals how often people cycle in England, attracted 1,756 respondents in Bradford, 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 suggested 35 per cent fewer people are cycling at least once a week, compared with 2015-16.

Cllr Ross-Shaw, the council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said the council was committed to opening up cycling opportunities to both residents and visitors.

He said: “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.”

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, 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.

“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 could act as barriers.

He added: “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..

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