Wigan named one of the most bike-friendly places in UK

Wigan has been named one of the most cycle-friendly towns and cities in the country in a new report analysing data on two-wheeled travel.

By Andrew Nowell
Friday, 6th August 2021, 4:05 pm
What used to be call the Muddy Mile is much more bike-friendly now
What used to be call the Muddy Mile is much more bike-friendly now

The borough placed third in a list of UK hotspots for getting in the saddle in a study.

The Compensation Experts looked at data on cycling casualties, traffic levels, enthusiasm for pedalling among people and bicycle thefts to come to its conclusions about the best places for two-wheeled enthusiasts.

Wigan came out with an overall index score of 2,996 and the study has pleased the council, which in partnership with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has invested heavily in cycling infrastructure in recent years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Coun Paul Prescott, portfolio holder for transport at the town hall, said: “Wigan Council is committed to ensuring safe and accessible cycling opportunities in the borough.

“Our continued work with the Greater Manchester Bee Network has seen more cycle-friendly routes linking all areas of the borough and our cycling opportunities with Be Well Wigan offer cycling opportunities for anyone looking to get into, or return to cycling in guided group rides and one-to-one sessions.”

Only Cambridge and Oxford came out above Wigan for getting about on two wheels in the study.

Wigan was also one of the safest places in the UK to ride a bike, with an average of 122 cycling accidents.

The roads in the borough are also fairly quiet compared to other major towns and cities, with Wigan getting a traffic rate of 1,131.

Wiganers scored 0.386 for cycling enthusiasm, based on Department for Transport (DfT) participation surveys, while there were 280 bicycle thefts in the borough.

The survey contained plenty of good news for cyclists in the North West, with Stockport and Bolton following Wigan in fourth and fifth places and Blackpool also making the top 10 of riding hotspots.

There have been a number of high-profile projects completed to encourage Wiganers to use more active modes of transport in recent years while consultations on other schemes have also been held.

The Saddle Junction got a major upgrade a few years ago, with Olympic gold medallist and Greater Manchester cycling and walking commissioner Chris Boardman coming to Wigan for the opening ceremony.

A stretch of canal towpath formerly known as the Muddy Mile has also been resurfaced.

Work is currently taking place to improve access on two wheels between Wigan Pier and the town centre, while the council is currently asking for opinions on improving the quality of the canal towpath between Wigan and Appley Bridge.

A consultation is also under way about creating an active neighbourhood in Worsley Mesnes, which would include improved facilities for cycling.

Jonathan Corris, senior marketing manager at The Compensation Experts, said: “Cycling is proven to be a great way of travelling around a city whether that be for commuting or just for a leisure activity.

“It’s wonderful to see such a wide breadth of cities up and down the country ranking the best for cycling. We hope that more cities will put processes in place to make their city a cycle-friendly destination in the near future.”