Studies

How Many People Can Ride a Bike? (Statistics Breakdown)

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The Short Answer

A study across 28 countries showed that 63% of adults are able to ride a bicycle.

In the UK, 88.5% of adults know how to ride a bicycle, while 94% of American adults know how to ride a bicycle.

For most keen cyclists, it’s hard to imagine a life without being able to ride a bike. Cycling is a very popular hobby and mode of transport around the world, and studies show that the majority of adults globally do know how to ride a bike.

But just how many people can ride a bike, and how many people actually ride on a regular basis?

On this page, we’re taking a deep dive into the data about who is capable of riding a bike and who does so regularly, as well as sharing some interesting tidbits on bike culture, bike usage, and attitudes to cycling around the globe.

How Many People Can Ride a Bike?

How Many Adults Can’t Ride a Bike?

  • One in eight UK adults don’t know how to ride a bike (British Heart Foundation)
  • 6 percent of Americans don’t know how to ride a bike (YouGov)
  • Of the 103 million people who rode a bike in 2020, 26% were women and about 39% were men (PeopleforBikes Foundation)
  • 58% of women in the U.S. feel very confident riding a bike, whereas 81% of men feel very confident riding (League of American Bicyclists)
  • Only 12% of adults, on average, across 28 countries said they commute by bicycle (Ipsos)
  • Generally, the average age to learn to ride a bike is just over five years old (Cleary Bikes)
SOURcE: Unsplash.com

What Percentage of the World Can Ride a Bike?

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of adults across 28 countries say they know how to ride a bicycle (Ipsos)
  • About 30 percent of the population of Germany (24.9 million) ride a bike at least once a week (Transportation Research Board)
  • According to a study conducted about children in England, in the period 2017/18, around 22.6 percent of the children aged between 11 and 15 had ridden a bike in the last 4 weeks prior to the survey (Statista)
  • Bicycle ownership remains most prevalent amongst people under 17 years old (gov.uk)
  • There were roughly 1 billion bicycles in the world in 2019 (Pioneer Sports)
  • Around 16% of all trips are made by bicycle in Denmark (Cycling Embassy of Denmark)
  • There are just over a billion bikes in the world (Pioneer Sports)
  • On average, boys cycle nearly 6 times as much as girls (National Children’s Bureau)

What Percentage of People Have Bikes?

  • 42% of adults across 28 countries report owning a bike (Ipsos)
  • In Wales, the proportion of people who own or can access a bike is 63% among 16-24 year-olds; 63% among 25-44 year-olds; 58% among 45-64 year-olds; 44% among 65-74 year-olds and 30% among those aged 75 or older. (National Survey for Wales)
  • People aged 40 to 49 indicated high bicycle ownership at 58% (gov.uk)
  • 14% of children aged 6 to 15 would like to cycle to school (Sustrans)
  • In England, 47% of people aged 5 and over owned or had access to a bicycle in 2020 (gov.uk)
  • The global market size of the bike industry is $59.33 billion (Zippia)
  • There are 52 million bicycle riders in the US (Zippia)
  • 70% of cyclists in the United States are men, and 30% are women (Zippia)
  • 34 percent of Americans over the age of three rode a bike at least once in the last year (Breakaway Research Group for People for Bikes)
  • 1 in 20 people in the UK own an e-bike (Tredz

Number of Cyclists

SOURCE: Unsplash.com

UK Cycling Statistics

  • Just 2% of UK pupils cycle to school (Sustrans)
  • A survey conducted by Sport England between 2017 and 2020 found that 88% of 5-10 year olds owned or had access to a bike, followed by 74% of 11-16 year olds (England National Travel Survey 2020, table 0608)
  • One in five Brits haven’t ridden a bike for more than ten years (British Heart Foundation)
  • 41% of UK households don’t own a bike at all (British Heart Foundation)
  • 47% of people in England aged 5 and over owned or had access to a bicycle in 2020 (National Travel Survey at gov.uk)
  • Between 2016 and 2021 the number of people participating in cycling in England increased from 5,044,400 to 6,479,900, and increase of over 28% (Sport England)
  • In Scotland an average of 10.3% of people across all age groups participated in cycling in 2016, increasing to 12.8% in 2020 (Cycling Scotland)
  • The biggest increase in bicycle usage between 2016 and 2020 was for people aged 16 to 24, up from 13% in 2016 to 22% in 2020 (Cycling Scotland)
  • In Wales, 4% of adults surveyed in 2020 claimed to cycle at least once a week for active travel purposes (gov.wales)
  • Roughly 4% of commuting trips in England were cycled in 2018 (National Travel Survey)
  • 15% of people in England cycle for leisure and sport (Sport England)
  • 7% of people in England cycle as a means of transport (Sport England)
  • Men are two and a half times more likely to cycle for travel than women are, at 10% versus 4% (Sport England)
  • 33% of Brits have been cycling in the last 12 months (finder.com)

USA Cycling Statistics

Global Cycling Statistics

Source: Unsplash.com

What do these statistics mean?

This data gives us an interesting insight into different attitudes towards cycling around the world, and the disparity between how many people can cycle and how many actually do on a regular basis.

The fact that only 63% of adults surveyed in 28 countries say they know how to ride a bike is quite surprising, as this means that more than a third of adults don’t know how to ride.

In Britain, only one third of people say they have ridden a bike in the last 12 months, whereas in Denmark, around 16% of all trips are made by bicycle.

The amount of people who regularly ride a bike varies greatly from country to country, but the data also shows that this varies depending on socio-economic status, occupation, gender and more.

For example, people with incomes under $20,000 and people with incomes over $100,000 are more likely to have ridden a bike in the past 12 months than other income groups, and people on the low end of the income spectrum bike more frequently for both transportation and recreation than others.

70% of cyclists in the United States are men, and 30% are women – a huge disparity – and Sport England also found that men are two and a half times more likely to cycle for travel than women are.

Safety is also a factor: Parents are more likely to let their children bike or walk to school when they believe that other adults in the neighbourhood watch out for children, and just 2% of UK pupils cycle to school – but 14% of children aged 6 to 15 say they would like to cycle to school. Plus, cycling is more commonly used to run errands or to commute in countries where it is most widely perceived as a safe mode of transportation, such as China, Japan, and the Netherlands.

These statistics tell us a lot about not only who can cycle and who does cycle, but why more people don’t.

Safety, infrastructure, accessibility and availability are all factors that need to be improved to encourage cycling around the world, and countries like the Netherlands and Denmark (in Copenhagen, a huge 49% of people are cyclists!) can be looked up to for inspiration for how to get it right.

Ride in style

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