West Midlands Walking and Cycling Index

Formerly known as Bike Life, this is the UK's biggest ever study of walking, wheeling and cycling.

Of all the areas in this year’s Walking and Cycling Index, the West Midlands has seen the largest rise from 2019 to 2021 in the number of people who cycle overall.

Every year, walking and cycling in the West Midlands results in:


serious long-term health conditions prevented

£1.24 billion

in economic benefit for individuals and the region

94,000 tonnes

of greenhouse gas emissions saved

Icon of navy car.

Up to 580,000

cars taken off the road every day

Algar, a Walking and Cycling Index survey respondent, smiling as she rides through a tree-lined path in Sutton Coldfield

Algar, Sutton Coldfield

I started using West Midlands Cycle Hire this year, having not cycled since my children were young.

I found the bikes really easy to use straight away and attended a cycling skills session to build my confidence back up, which was really helpful. I fell off the first time but just jumped straight back on!

It’s amazing, it just comes back naturally. It’s easy and it’s really nice being out in the fresh air.

Now, I’m in the park three times a week and use those times to just regenerate and refresh; I find it so good for my mental health and it allows me to think with clarity. I feel so much younger again.


In the West Midlands, nearly half of residents walk at least five days a week (45%) and 13% of residents cycle at least once a week.

However, participation in active travel is not equal, and it’s clear that more could be done to encourage more people to ditch the car.

18% of men cycle at least once a week compared to 8% of women, and 14% of non-disabled people compared to 9% of disabled people.

There is also a big disparity between socio-economic groups, ranging from 19% of people in professional and managerial jobs to 7% of people in skilled manual work.

32% of residents do not cycle at all but would like to. That figure rises to 45% amongst ethnic minority groups.

Front cover of the West Midlands Walking and Cycling Index

Download the West Midlands Walking and Cycling Index

See the West Midlands' vision for walking, wheeling and cycling.

Download the report.

This report is also available in a text-only format.


West Midlands through the years

This is the second time we've assessed cycling in the West Midlands. Download the previous report:


Read our Birmingham reports from 2015 and 2017

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