Bike Life Bristol 2019 report finds safety is the single largest barrier to more people cycling

In case you needed any convincing of the scale of both the challenge and opportunity for cycling in Bristol, Sustrans have released their excellent Bike Life report for 2019.

This follows on from the 2017 and 2015 reports and highlights many of the barriers to cycling in Bristol but also some of the huge opportunities and potential in the city:

  • 350,000 people live within a 25 minute cycle of ‘The Galleries’
  • 73% of people think space should be increased for people socialising, walking and cycling on their local high street
  • 28% of residents cycle at least once a week. 23% don’t cycle but would like to
  • Bristol residents cycle 11 times around the world every day
  • 46% of annual cycling trips by purpose are for work (13.5 million of them, up from 11.3m in 2017), with shopping, personal business and social trips accounting for 35%
  • There is a net benefit of 95p for individuals and society from each mile cycled instead of driven, in total this adds up to £69.5 million annually from all trips cycled
  • 14% of residents cycle five or more days a week (29% in Cambridge)
  • 19% of Bristol’s streets are without 20mph speed limits
  • Bristol has 12 miles of cycle tracks physically protected from traffic and pedestrians, and 49 miles of traffic-free cycle routes away from the road. However, only 18% of households are within 125 metres of these routes (16% in 2017)
  • Cycle theft seems to be increasing, with 1,782 reported cycle thefts in Bristol in 2018/19 (1,291 in 2016)

The report only covers the Bristol Council area and so only about 2/3 of the city. 

Bike Life is inspired by the Copenhagen Bicycle Account, and is an assessment of city cycling development including infrastructure, travel behaviour, satisfaction, the impact of cycling, and new initiatives.

This is the third report from Bristol, produced in partnership with Bristol City Council. The information in this report comes from local cycling data, modelling and an independent survey of 1,440 residents aged 16 or above in Bristol. The survey was conducted by social research organisation NatCen and is representative of Bristol residents, not just those who cycle.

More details on all Bike Life reports can be found at