A dramatic drop has been seen in the number of people cycling to and from work in Rushmoor and Hart, according to new figures.
The number of Aldershot and Farnborough commuters using pedal power fell by 30% between 2001 and 2011, from 2,032 to 1,413. In Hart, there was a decrease of 23%, from 1,208 to 936.
These were the largest decreases of the 67 local authorities in the South East, with Rushmoor recording the joint third largest decrease in England and Wales in tables based on the 2011 census published last week by the Office for National Statistics.
The proportion of commutes made by bicycles dropped in almost all parts of the News & Mail area. Rushmoor and Hart fell to 2.8% and 1.9%, respectively, while Waverley has 0.3% fewer cyclist commuters and Surrey Heath 0.2% fewer.
Guildford borough, containing Ash, remained the same, with 2.5% of commutes made by bicycle.
The local figures bucked the trend of that in the South East overall, which saw 4% more cycling commuters during the 10-year period.
However, 39% of commuters said they still travelled by car.
It was a trend reflected across England and Wales, with statistics from the Department for Transport released last month showing the number of cars rose on all roads except urban A roads.
Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for South East England, is touring the constituency to mark the launch of a new transport report called Dirty and Dangerous.
It argues against building new roads, calling instead for investment in public transport and pedestrian and cyclist routes.
Mr Taylor said the decrease in cycling in Rushmoor and Hart ‘simply isn’t good enough’.
“At a time when we should be seeing more cyclists on the roads, we’ve seen a serious lack of investment from many councils and central government,” he said. “South East England shows us both the best and worst when it comes to cycling levels.
“In places like Brighton, we’ve seen thousands more journeys made by bike, while many local authorities have seen the proportion of cycle commuters fall.
“Cycling is good for our health, good for the environment and should be promoted.”
The statistics come as bike campaigners push for a new off-road cycle route that would link Fleet with Farnborough, while a new cycle path linking Hitches Lane to Fleet town centre opened last September, costing £722,000.