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On your bike... figures reveal it's now faster to cycle than drive in Belfast

By Linda Stewart

Published 10/06/2016

It's official - two wheels are faster than four.

Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard has unveiled the results of an experiment to see if it is quicker to commute by bike in Belfast than by car - and bike power has come out on top.

The minister was speaking at the launch of Bike Week 2016, which will see more than 100 cycling events and activities taking place across Northern Ireland between June 11 and 19, including barbecue cycle rides, family cycle evenings, safety workshops and mountain bike competitions.

As part of the launch, Mr Hazzard unveiled two short films produced by the Department's Cycling Unit and Travelwise NI which pit car and bike against each other in commutes from the east and west of the city into Belfast city centre.

Travelling by bike cut an incredible six minutes off the east Belfast journey, while cycling from west Belfast was almost four minutes quicker.

The first route follows a 2.7 mile journey from Edgcumbe Gardens in east Belfast and the second route follows a 3.1 mile journey from the Glen Road in west Belfast.

Viewers can see exactly where, and when, the car and bike overtake each other or get held up in morning congestion. The east Belfast video can be viewed at https://youtu.be/GOYlNfdJMio and the west Belfast video is posted at https://youtu.be/NQ758SGD1Vs

Mr Hazzard said: "It might surprise many people to know that these videos reveal that the bike is in fact the quickest mode of transport. The bike arrives six minutes and 10 seconds quicker from east Belfast into the city and three minutes 50 seconds quicker from west Belfast. These videos should challenge people's perceptions of cycling by highlighting how efficient it is as a mode of transport for short commutes across the city.

"Cycling is a low-cost, easy and flexible way to travel."

A recent Bike Life report revealed that 48% of people in Belfast think a reduction in traffic would make the city a better place. "We are not asking people to cycle long distances or to take inconvenient journeys - rather we are asking people to consider when they could cycle instead of using the car," the minister said.

Mr Hazzard said he is particularly looking forward to Bike to School Day on June 15, while the Bike Week events offer something for everyone, with families, school children and commuters all able to get involved.

As part of Bike Week 2016, Bike to Work Day will take place on June 17 when cyclists are being invited to cycle from Queen's University in Belfast to the City Hall where they can avail of a free cup of coffee and a breakfast snack before making their way onwards to work.

For details of other events check the Travelwise NI website https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/bike-week.

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