Just  one in four Brighton and Hove residents use a car to get to work.

Census data has revealed the city has the third lowest proportion of people commuting by car outside of London.

Just Cambridge, Oxford and the Isles of Scilly have a smaller percentage, with one in five using a car in the famous university cities.

The 2011 census data, released yesterday (February 13), paints a picture of how the nation travels to work.

Brighton and Hove is in the top 15% of local authorities for public transport, with 8.8% of people getting the bus to work and 6.5% using the train.

We also have the fifth highest percentage of those who commute by foot in the whole country.

Just over 12.9% of residents walk to work. The Office for National Statistics results take into account those between 16 and 74 – including those currently unemployed.

But 3% of residents use a bike to get to work – despite millions being spent on initiatives and infrastructure.

In comparison, nearly 17.5% of Cambridge commuters get on their bike leading campaigners to slam the council for “disproportionate spending” on those with two wheels.

Money spent

Motoring lobbyist Steve Percy, who sits on the city’s transport partnership, said: “I’m not against cyclists using the roads but there is a disproportionate amount of spending on them.

“I travel along Old Shoreham Road pretty much every day. Sometimes I can go the whole length without seeing a cyclist.”

Tony Green, from city cycling group Bricycles, said that he wasn’t “too surprised” by the figures.

He added: “I thought the figure for cyclists may have been a couple of percent higher but I’m not too surprised.

“I think what the Green administration is doing at the moment is quite good.”

Success elsewhere

Experts put Cambridge’s success down to vast number of safe bike racks, considerate motorists and cycling practices and habits passed down through generations.

Councillor Ian Davey, chair of the transport committee, said: “Our investment in schemes such as training, awareness and travel planning, along with dedicated cycle lanes on the seafront, The Drive and Old Shoreham Road, have all helped cycling levels increase quite dramatically.

“The work currently being carried out in Lewes Road and the introduction of 20mph speed limits should help increase cycling levels further, and help people feel confident that cycling is a safe and practical choice to get around the city.”

Best way to travel

The more I think about it the harder it is to see why I wouldn’t cycle to work.

Buses are far too expensive for the service while a car now costs a small fortune to run.

Instead I can travel to my own timetable, get fit and healthy and more often than not arrive where I want to be quicker than on any alternative mode of transport.

Even the pitfalls of wild weather and forcing myself onto the saddle every morning are not enough to dissuade me.

I genuinely love it and would be bereft without my bike.

Reporter Peter Truman

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