November 2009

Shift to bike commuting continues

The November Spokes traffic count shows bikes rising to 13.0% of all vehicles during the 8-9am rush hour, averaged over our 4 counting points – the fourth successive annual rise, and up from 12.5% in November 2008.

The full results are in our downloads-technical page.

The actual number of cyclists only rose marginally (though this was the fourth annual rise) but car traffic fell (again for the fourth successive year).  There was a big jump in citybound cyclists on Forrest Road, but this was balanced by reductions in Lothian Road, giving a slight overall net increase in bike numbers.   Car and bike numbers are probably still affected by tram works, with southbound cars at Forrest Road particularly affected (presumably by the Mound closure).

Northbound at Forrest Road, bikes accounted for 23.7% of all vehicles between 8-9am – the highest ever November figure.  For the first time ever in November, there were more bikes than commercial vehicles, buses, etc;  and bikes reached nearly half the number of cars.

Of course, we are only counting inner-city rush-hour bike use, and only in 2 corridors.   Our figures certainly don’t represent the whole city, where the council last quoted the overall commuter bike share to be 4% .   Equally, though, our figures hint at the potential, and should encourage the council to work hard on its Charter of Brussels target for 15% of all trips to be by bike by 2020 [see article on p4 of Spokes Bulletin 105].

We also counted single-occupancy cars, and again 3 out of every 4 cars are only carrying one person – a huge waste of precious rush-hour road-space.  Driving into the city, 4 in every 5 cars were single-occupancy, although the picture was slightly better for cars heading south at roughly 2 in every 3 cars having only one occupant.


We have taken the opportunity to add all our previous survey results to the website.   Use this link, or go to the downloads page at the top of the site, then to technical –  traffic counts.

The data includes full results of each count, plus a file showing the trends over all the counts.   We have also added for the first time the results of our Middle Meadow Walk questionnaire survey, in December 2007, which amongst other things completely shatters the myth that most cyclists in Forrest Road area during the rush hour are either students or lecturers!

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