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Bike Week 2023: Celebrating everyday cycling

The 100th annual Bike Week runs from 5 to 11 June 2023 and marks a century of celebrating everyday cycling for all.

This year's theme is centred on encouraging workplace cycling, celebrating the power of active travel.

The benefits of cycling are well known – reducing emissions, improving health and saving money. Despite this, why do 45.1% of UK commuters travel to work by car, yet only 2% do so by bike? 

The concept of cycling is off-putting for many, with perceived inconvenience and safety concerns looming large.

I therefore celebrate the work being done by Active Travel England, to enable more people to cycle. As stated by Chris Boardman, National Active Travel Commissioner of Active Travel England, “for cycling and walking to become the natural choice for shorter journeys, people must feel safe and the options must be easy.”

Through my work supporting people in the aftermath of serious injuries and deaths on our roads, I too often see the devastation caused by avoidable incidents.  Recent statistics reveal that in 2022, “the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured rose to 5,602 – up by 500 year-on-year.”

The government’s decision to cut the active travel budget by more than 50% was therefore hugely disappointing, especially at a time where empowering people to choose alternatives to driving has never been more relevant – enabling decarbonisation and ensuring cheap transport choices.

In a joint statement, Sustrans, alongside organisations representing the Walking and Cycling Alliance and Women in Transport, said: "More than ever, people want and need support to walk, wheel and cycle, and these cuts will impact those that would have benefited most, limiting our choice to travel healthily, cheaply and emissions-free."

As we mark the 100th Bike Week, I hope that the government is able to set aside short terms gains from budget cuts and instead recognise the importance of long term investments. 

A further comment by Chris Boardman puts it perfectly: “We always lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of people want this. Every survey you see says, yes, I want my kids to be able to cycle and walk to school, but at the moment I don’t feel able to do anything else but drive them. Change isn’t going to be easy, but it’s essential. And it’s inevitable.”

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in helping people and families following road accidents at our road traffic accident claims section.