May 2015

Traffic Count : Bikes highest ever %

Despite a cold and windy morning, the May Spokes traffic count found bikes forming 16.5% of all vehicles at our 4 count points, the highest ever %, and only the second time to exceed 16%…

The total number of bikes at all 4 count points (479) was slightly down on our warm and sunny count (491) last year; but private motor traffic was down by a huge 100 vehicles, a total of just 1663 compared to 1765 last year, which itself was an all-time low.  Hopefully more drivers were taking the bus!

Bike numbers in fact rose at 3 of our 4 count points – but these rises were outweighed by a significant fall northbound in Lothian Road – although bikes still comprised 19.1% of all vehicles there.   In contrast, private motor traffic fell at all 4 count points.

It is worth noting that bike numbers grew where nearby cycle facilities had been improved [Meadows area] whereas the fall in numbers was in Lothian Road where nothing has been done – and where northbound cyclists have become increasingly aware of the dangerous tramline crossing at the West End, where several crashes have now occurred.

Messages from the count results

  • The Council should urgently look into a light-controlled 90-degree crossing of the tramlines, from Lothian Road to Hope Street/Charlotte Square.  This would provide a vital connection from South Edinburgh to Queensferry Street,  to the forthcoming East-West cycleroute and George Street.  For many cyclists it would eliminate the unpleasant right turn at the foot of Lothian Road [though for cyclists wishing to continue along Princes Street a more complex solution is needed].  The crossing should also be designed to be compatible with future segregated cycle facilities in Lothian Road.
  • Where cycle facilities have been improved, the Meadows area, bike use is up on last year – even on a cool, windy morning!
  • Car commuting into Edinburgh city centre is on a very clear continuing downward trend (and this may well be the case elsewhere in the city, where we do not count).  This is a huge success for the Council, which has a bold Local Transport Strategy target to cut car use from 43% of all trips in 2010 to just 31% in 2020.  The Council should take every advantage of this success to improve conditions for walking and cycling – and should certainly think again about its inexplicable proposal to allow motor traffic to use all bus lanes off-peak and to scrap Saturday bus lanes altogether.

What you can do

If you support our ideas – please contact your councillors.   Email them and, if you feel strongly, ask to meet them at their surgery or to have a phone chat.   Find them at   Let us know any useful outcomes.

Full count data

Find our May 2015 count results, a file of trends from 2006, and background to the counts and their interpretation on our counts page.


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