FEWER than 10 per cent of Dorset residents cycle at least once a week, figures suggest.

It comes after Department for Transport released the results of an annual survey which reveals how often people cycle in England.

Across the county there were 2,828 respondents, who answered questions about their travel habits between November 2016 and November 2017.

The results show that 12 per cent said they cycled at least once a week in the county compared with 13 per cent in Poole and 15 per cent in Bournemouth. Also, the survey suggests cycling is become more popular in Bournemouth but dropping off elsewhere in the county.

Xavier Brice, chief executive of ‘walking and cycling’ charity Sustrans, said: “It is disappointing to see that levels of cycling have not changed across Dorset compared to previous years.

“Cities or towns with well-established cycling cultures such as Cambridge and Oxford unsurprisingly record the highest prevalence for cycling at least once a week.

“This confirms what is already widely known – that good quality cycling infrastructure combined with behaviour change programmes is responsible for increased cycling uptake.

“Protected cycling infrastructure also helps break down a barrier for those people who don’t cycle because of safety reasons, a number one concern according to the data.”

The survey suggests four per cent more people are cycling at least once a week in Bournemouth compared with 2015-16.

However this small increase is countered by a 15 per cent drop in weekly cyclists in Poole and an 18 per cent drop in Dorset county. Across the county some six per cent of respondents were keen cyclists who used their bike at least three times a week. The amount of people who cycled for leisure or to commute was roughly equal in the conurbation, while in the rural county bicycle commuting was much less common.

The Department for Transport says it is currently “carrying out a review” of cycle safety. A spokesman said: “We are also investing £1.7 billion through the Transforming Cities Fund to connect communities and support active and sustainable travel.”

Charity Cycling UK has urged ministers to make cycling attractive to a wider sector of the Dorset population.

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns said: “The Government has just closed its consultation on cycle and pedestrian safety, and now we need them to urgently publish their findings and take immediate action.

“Its own statistics published today show that 60 per cent of adults admit they feel it’s too dangerous to cycle on the road, and in particular women and older people are put off cycling by those fears.

“Although cycling is statistically much safer than many people think, it’s clear the Government has to address the key issues of infrastructure, such as improving roads and cycle lanes, and making sure our traffic laws operate effectively to promote road safety for everyone.”