London's cyclists tackle climate change

Cyclist and pedestrians in London with bridge in background

Over 223m cycling trips were made in London in 2014, saving emissions of 82,000 cars

14 December 2015

Londoners taking to two wheels in the capital save the annual emissions of 82,000 cars. 

As the UN international climate talks drew to a close in Paris we reveal the massive greenhouse gas savings made by people cycling in the capital.

Our evidence shows that over 260,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases were saved from cycling journeys made in London in 2014. This saving is equivalent to the emissions of over 82,000 cars. That CO2 would fill London’s Gherkin building 370 times.

 The Sustrans research released shows the impact cycling can have on emissions, in London and beyond.

- Gunjan Parik, C40 CITIES
The most recent figures from Transport for London estimated number of cycling trips in London increased to nearly 223million in 2014.

Matt Winfield, Acting Sustrans London Regional Director, said:

“When it comes to tackling transport emissions in London, it’s clear that cycling is one of the best investments the new Mayor can make.

“Cycling numbers are growing rapidly in London but still account for only a fraction of all journeys taken in the capital, yet the greenhouse gas savings for these journeys are estimated at over two hundred and sixty thousand tonnes. The benefits for our environment of enabling more people to get on their bikes for everyday journeys are enormous.

"If Londoners can hit the target of 1.5m cycling trip per day in London by 2026 we’d save over 641,000 tonnes of carbon a year, equivalent to the emissions of over 200,000 cars.

"That’s why continued investment under the Mayor’s Cycling Vision is essential for London."

Gunjan Parik, Head of Transport Initiative at C40 CITIES, Climate Leadership Group said: 

"Cities are responsible for creating over 70% of global CO2 emissions and transport emissions account for a major part of those. Which is why cities and transport policies have such a major role to play in tackling climate change. 

"The Sustrans London research released today shows the impact cycling can have on emissions, in London and beyond. Since the last major COP in Copenhagen, C40 cities have taken 10,000 climate actions and committed to reducing their CO2 emissions by 3 Gt by 2030 – encouraging more cycling in cities will be a key part of these efforts. C40 hails the progress made to date in London and looks forward to supporting ambitious cycling programmes in cities around the world". 

Transport emissions account for more than 20% of total London emissions.

It’s clear that enabling people to get around under their own steam is crucial to achieving our climate change ambitions.

Find out more:

Read more local London news stories.