8. Walking and cycling - adults (16+)(Tables 12, 13, H and I; Chart J)
8.1 The interviewer asks the randomly-chosen adult on how many of the previous seven days did he/she make a trip of more than a quarter of a mile by foot (a) to go somewhere such as work, shopping or to see friends (i.e. used walking as a means of transport); and (b) just for the pleasure of walking, or to keep fit or walk a dog. A similar question is asked about cycling.
8.2.1 The left-hand side of Table 12 shows that 53% of adults said that, in the previous seven days, they had made a trip of more than a quarter of a mile by foot to go somewhere. In 2004, there was very little variation between the sexes. The percentage who had walked to go somewhere tended to fall with age, from 68% of people aged 16-19 to about half of those aged 50-69 and a third of those aged 80 or over. The percentage was highest for adults in further or higher education (78%), and for adults living in large urban areas (59%). It was lowest for those who were permanently sick or disabled (35%), and for those living in "accessible" rural areas (42%) or "remote" rural areas (38%). There was some variation with the socio-economic classification of the adult: the percentages for the different classes were between 52% for small employers and sole traders and 63% for semi-routine occupations (the apparent possible inconsistency with the overall figure of 53% is due to the socio-economic classification being available for only about half the people - see section A.7). There was not as much variation with income (the percentages for the different income bands were all between 51% and 56%). Those who drove every day were less likely to have walked to go somewhere in the previous seven days (45%) than those who did not drive every day (56-60%).
8.2.2 The figures for previous years suggest a rise in the percentage who had used walking as a means of transport in the previous seven days, from 51.8% in 1999 to 54.6% in 2001, and then a fall to 53.4% in 2004. These figures are shown in Table H. The variation could be due to sampling variability: each of these percentages has a "95% confidence interval" of about +/- 1 percentage point.
8.2.3 The right-hand side of Table 12, and the upper part of Chart J, provide information about walking for pleasure or to keep fit (including walking a dog). In 2004, 44% of adults said that they had made a trip of more than a quarter of a mile by foot for this purpose in the previous seven days: 46% of men and 42% of women. Chart J shows that the biggest difference between men and women was for ages 75 and above, when the percentage of men who said that they had walked for pleasure or to keep fit was much higher than the corresponding figure for women.
8.2.4 In 2004, the percentage reporting that they had walked for pleasure or to keep fit was highest for self-employed people (54%) and lowest for permanently sick or disabled adults (24%). 50-57% of those in managerial and professional occupations had walked for pleasure or to keep fit, compared with 45% of those in routine or semi-routine occupations. There were also differences between areas: 55% of adults in SHS-classified "remote" rural areas had walked for pleasure or to keep fit in the past seven days, compared with 36% of adults in large urban areas. Walking for pleasure or to keep fit also varied with frequency of driving. Among adults who hold full driving licences it varied from about half of those who drove at least once a week, to only 37% for those who never drove, and was only 34% for those who did not hold a full driving licence.
8.2.5 The percentage of adults who said that they had walked for pleasure or to keep fit on one or more of the previous seven days was at its highest level in 2003 and 2004 (43.6-43.7%). This is shown in Table H. However, some of the apparent year-to-year changes may be due to sampling variability (there had appeared to be a fall in 2002, and the percentages each have "95% confidence intervals" of about +/- 1 percentage point).
8.3.1 Table 13 shows the equivalent results for cycling. In 2004, only 3% of adults said that they had cycled as a means of transport in the previous seven days: 4% of men and 1% of women. The percentage was highest for 16-39 year olds (4%), then fell as age increased, to 1% or fewer of those aged 60 or over. There was some variation with current situation, with 5% of people who were in higher or further education saying that they had cycled as a means of transport in the previous seven days compared with 1% of people who were permanently retired from work or permanently sick or disabled. There was also variation with frequency of driving (4-5% of those with a full driving licence who drove three times a week or less often, compared with 2% of those who drove every day and 2% of those who did not hold a full driving licence).
8.3.2 In 2004, 4% of adults said that they had cycled for pleasure or to keep fit in the previous seven days: 5% of men and 2% of women. The lower part of Chart J shows that the percentage for men was higher than that for women for all age-groups except 75-79 (where it was less than 1% for both sexes). There was variation with socio-economic classification: 7% of those in higher managerial and professional occupations cycled for pleasure or to keep fit compared with 3-5% in the semi-routine and routine occupations. However, such differences must be interpreted cautiously when the sub-groups concerned had only a few hundred sample cases. There were also differences with annual net household income: only 2% of adults in a household with less than £15,000 annual net income cycled for pleasure or to keep fit, versus 6-8% for adults in households with an annual net income of over £30,000. There was some variation with type of area, ranging from 2% in large urban areas to 6% in SHS-classified rural areas. There were also differences with frequency of driving: 2% of those who never drive, compared with 5-6% of those who drive every day or almost every day.
8.3.3 Table I shows there has been no clear change in the percentage of adults reporting cycling as a means of transport, or for pleasure or to keep fit, between 1999 and 2004: the apparent year-to-year changes in the figures may be due to sampling variability.
Chart J: Walking and cycling for pleasure or to keep fit (on one or more of the previous seven days)