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Bikes now most common vehicle type in City of London rush hour

New report shows near 300-per cent rise in number of bikes over 20 years - but more infrastructure urged if growth to continue

A new report from the Corporation of London has revealed that there are now more bicycles on the Square Mile’s streets in the morning rush hour than any other type of vehicle but says that more infrastructure for cyclists or changes in travel behaviour are needed to encourage further growth.

Published under the title Traffic In The City 2018, the report is based on traffic counts conducted at 15 locations in the City of London, the traditional home of the capital’s finance sector, in October and November last year.

Besides bicycles (including Santander Cycles and dockless hire bikes) , the types of vehicles analysed in the traffic count were private cars (including private hire vehicles and minicabs), licensed London taxi cabs, motorcycles, light goods vehicles, heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles.

The survey, conducted at two-yearly intervals since 1999 with findings published by the Corporation of London’s Department of the Built Environment, found that “traffic volumes of all vehicular modes (except cycling) have decreased over the last two decades by at least one third."

The report said: “Some of the street capacity unlocked by these decreases in motorised vehicle traffic, alongside cycling infrastructure installations across the City, have facilitated a 292 per cent increase in cycling volumes since 1999, with an additional 24,000 cycling journeys recorded on count day in 2017,” the report said.

“These counts - taken in October and November – are representative of winter cycling rates,” it noted. “It is likely that cycling would make up an even greater share of vehicle movements during the spring and summer months.”

Rather than decreasing in a smooth line over the 20-year period, significant falls were seen in three years in particular – 2004, which followed the introduction of the Congestion Charge the previous year, in 2008, coinciding with the global recession, and 2016, the year the first segregated Cycle Superhighways were introduced.

On that final point, however, it’s worth noting that only of the locations Superhighway – where Upper Thames Street meets Southwark Bridge Road –  at which the traffic counts were conducted lies on the route of the East-West Cycle Superhighway.

As a result, the survey could even understate the number of cyclists arriving in the City along that route if they turn off it beforehand.

Nevertheless, the report noted that “the number of cyclists counted during the morning peak hour has more than doubled since 2007, making it the single largest mode of transport counted on City streets from 08:00 to 09:00."

Unsurprisingly, the greatest number of cyclists were observed during the morning (08:00-10:00) and evening (17:00-19:00) rush hours, although the traffic count also found that there were more cyclists than black cabs between 19:00 and 20:00 hours.

Pedestrians, included in the traffic count for the first time in this edition of the report, and estimated to account for half of all people movements in the Square Mile, also saw spikes at the morning and evening rush hours as well as – unlike cyclists – at lunchtime.

Recognition of the growth of cycling and the importance of walking as a means of getting around the Square Mile was recognised in May last year when an 18-month trial began in which Bank Junction is closed to all vehicles except bicycles and buses on weekdays from 07:00 to 19:00.

> More than 9 in 10 drivers complying with Bank Junction ban

The report’s authors did sound a cautionary note about the potential for further growth in cycling in the City, however, noting that “growth in cycling began to slow in 2012.”

They added: “While this is not a extrapolatory exercise, it does appear that the City counts have reached ‘peak cycle’ over the last five years, suggesting that significant changes in cycling infrastructure provision and/or travel behaviour may be needed to spur further growth in cycling on City streets.”

H/T Always Last on Twitter via Carlton Reid on BikeBiz

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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7 comments

Avatar
Chris Hayes | 6 years ago
7 likes

The infrastructure is there...they are called roads - we just need cars and other vehicles (apart from buses)  to be removed from them - permanently.  Bank and the temporary closures around Bank are the answer - safer and cleaner for everyone - diverting traffic to adjacent arterial roads.  

Avatar
Jitensha Oni replied to Chris Hayes | 6 years ago
1 like
Chris Hayes wrote:

The infrastructure is there...they are called roads - we just need cars and other vehicles (apart from buses)  to be removed from them - permanently.  Bank and the temporary closures around Bank are the answer - safer and cleaner for everyone - diverting traffic to adjacent arterial roads.  

Yay, a clarion call from the 20th century! Emergency services? Tradesmen with legitimate business in the area. People who live there (yes, I know that’s not a lot). Some disabled people? No point in aiming aim for, oooh idk, a 20% reduction in unnecessary vehicle movements (and a 20% increase in active travel) when a total ban is what is needed, eh?

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to Jitensha Oni | 6 years ago
7 likes
Jitensha Oni wrote:
Chris Hayes wrote:

The infrastructure is there...they are called roads - we just need cars and other vehicles (apart from buses)  to be removed from them - permanently.  Bank and the temporary closures around Bank are the answer - safer and cleaner for everyone - diverting traffic to adjacent arterial roads.  

Yay, a clarion call from the 20th century! Emergency services? Tradesmen with legitimate business in the area. People who live there (yes, I know that’s not a lot). Some disabled people? No point in aiming aim for, oooh idk, a 20% reduction in unnecessary vehicle movements (and a 20% increase in active travel) when a total ban is what is needed, eh?

he didn't say 'remove them immediately', did he? It's perfectly reasonable to have a target of 0 in such a small area, and to phase it in, although of course when people, such as the mayor, propse phased implementations other people are all over them, so you can't win.

There are other ways then using internal combustion engines of making deliveries and of getting about over short distances if you are disabled. The Romans managed somehow in that very area, although I admit their emergency services weren't up to much, and the fire brigade in 1666 was, frankly, crap.

 

Avatar
atgni replied to ConcordeCX | 6 years ago
0 likes
ConcordeCX wrote:

The Romans managed somehow in that very area, although I admit their emergency services weren't up to much, and the fire brigade in 1666 was, frankly, crap.

More people have died falling from the monument to the fire than 'officially' died in the fire.
Probably incorrect pub quiz answer.

Certainly more die on the roads today than died in the fire. 5 days in the UK would be around 24 deaths in RTC involving motor vehicles. (Only 6 died in the 1666 fire)

Avatar
Crippledbiker replied to Jitensha Oni | 6 years ago
6 likes
Jitensha Oni wrote:
Chris Hayes wrote:

The infrastructure is there...they are called roads - we just need cars and other vehicles (apart from buses)  to be removed from them - permanently.  Bank and the temporary closures around Bank are the answer - safer and cleaner for everyone - diverting traffic to adjacent arterial roads.  

Yay, a clarion call from the 20th century! Emergency services? Tradesmen with legitimate business in the area. People who live there (yes, I know that’s not a lot). Some disabled people? No point in aiming aim for, oooh idk, a 20% reduction in unnecessary vehicle movements (and a 20% increase in active travel) when a total ban is what is needed, eh?

I'm a disabled person, using a wheelchair no less.

I'll thank you to not use me as an excuse to avoid fixing bad infrastructure. Reducing access for vehicles, with exceptions only for emergency vehicles and some disabled drivers, would make the area much safer and more pleasant to be in.

Avatar
emishi55 replied to Jitensha Oni | 6 years ago
0 likes
Avatar
emishi55 replied to Jitensha Oni | 6 years ago
0 likes
Jitensha Oni wrote:

 

Yay, a clarion call from the 20th century! Emergency services? Tradesmen with legitimate business in the area. People who live there (yes, I know that’s not a lot). Some disabled people? No point in aiming aim for, oooh idk, a 20% reduction in unnecessary vehicle movements (and a 20% increase in active travel) when a total ban is what is needed, eh?

[/quote]

Are you for real?

                        Emergency services?  

Have you ever heard of  'Ambulance Gates'? They're like 'Bus Gates' - meaning that the designated form of transport can go ahead (including those cycling) whilst those non-designated (non-buses / non-emergency services etc), cannot.

                       Tradesmen with legitimate business in the area. (?)

Such a system is easy and cheap and can be adapted to allow other forms of services as appropriate including blue badge holders.

Two way 'No Entries'.

Perfect for the vast labyrinth of rat runs that infests the city and other towns across the UK.

Where offenders are persistent, bollards are the solution.

I still find your comment pretty wierd for a site that makes it pretty clear what the single impediment to cycling is (and I  mean 12 year olds, eighty year olds, those needing to use bies as mobility aids and plenty of others).   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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