The lockdown fuelled a cycling boom in 2020.
Though we spent much of 2020 cloistered indoors in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, the summer gave us the chance to get out, socialise, and reconnect with friends and family. Still, with social distancing difficult on public transport, Londoners opted to walk and cycle in even greater numbers – leading to a cycling boom, and resulting in the best year on record for London’s Santander Cycles.
In the ten years that the Santander Cycles have been operating in London (the first five under sponsorship of Barclays, the remaining five under Santander, and the whole ten under the moniker of ‘Boris Bikes’), they’ve never been as popular as they were in 2020. 10,434,167 bike hires were made this year, a full 6000 more than last year – which equates to a 167% increase from 2019. Bearing in mind a combination of lockdowns and Tier 4 meant most of us spent upwards of three months staying at home, that number gets even more impressive.
The huge increase in ridership has led to a bigger rollout of the scheme; back in June, it was announced that 1700 more bikes would be hitting the streets, off the back of a record May that saw over 130,000 hires made in the space of one weekend. Even the colder weather couldn’t put cyclists off; December 25 – 28 saw over 60,000 journeys made across town. The skyrocketing number of journeys has also had a charitable aspect, as 220,000 hires were made free for NHS staff and key workers, to support their work during the pandemic.
One can only hope this cycling boom continues in future; aside from the pandemic, London’s air pollution and the increasingly vital battle against climate change are compelling reasons to hop on two wheels!
In other record-breaking news, the UK set a new record for electricity generated by wind power over the Christmas holidays.
Also published on Medium.