Cycle Superhighways boost cyclist numbers

Jonathon Harker
Cycle Superhighways boost cyclist numbers

Cyclist numbers climb; bike and accessory purchases up 30%

The two pilot Barclays-sponsored Cycle Superhighways – launched in the summer last year – have been a huge success seeing a 70 per cent increase in the number of cyclists and increases of 100 per cent or more on some sections during peak hours.

According to a Transport for London survey, figures for cyclists in October 2010 along the routes were compared with the same roads in 2009. It found a 50 per cent increase in the total number of cyclists using the A24-set Superhighway, while the A13-set Superhighway saw cyclists numbers more than double for the same period. The total number of cyclists using both routes in October 2009 compared with 2010 revealed a 70 per cent rise.

Key findings from the survey, taken one month after launch, include:

  • 34 per cent on non-cyclists surveyed had begun to cycle following the Superhighway launch
  • Four-in-ten cyclists along the routes increased the amount they cycled elsewhere in London as a result of the Superhighways
  • Around three in ten purchased a bike or cycling equipment as a result of the Superhighways


Goods drivers were also surveyed on the routes, the majority of whom said they’d change the way they used junctions fitted with roadside safety mirrors. 60 per cent of cyclists said the blue coloured surfacing made them feel safer. Over three quarters asked said the Superhighways had improved safety for cyclists.

“It is great to see that the first two Barclays Cycle Superhighways are well on the way to achieving our goal to increase cycling in the Capital,” said Mayor of London’s Transport Advisor Kulveer Ranger. “This research shows that people do believe the routes are of value, make them feel safer and are allowing them to take direct and continuous routes into central London."

Chief exec of London Cycling Campaign (LCC) Ashok Sinha said: “LCC is delighted to hear that more Londoners are taking to two wheels because of the new Barclays Cycle Superhighways. Our members will continue to work with Transport for London to build on this positive result, so that we can further increase the quality of provision in the next set of routes and attract yet more Londoners to this healthy, environmentally-friendly and enjoyable way to travel.”

In the six months following the Superhighway launch, 39 safety mirrors have been installed at junctions along the pilot routes. 46 signalled junctions have also been improved to provide quicker journey times and create more space for cyclists.

David Brown, Surface Transport MD at TfL, added: “This research clearly shows that Barclays Cycle Superhighways are meeting the objectives we set out to achieve. Work has already started on the next two Barclays Cycle Superhighways providing cyclists with direct and reliable cycle routes into London.

“TfL is also working closely with the relevant London boroughs and a whole range of interested parties to ensure that we maximise every opportunity to improve the cycle commute for those already using these routes, and attract many more thousands of Londoners to join them.”  

Deanna Oppenheimer, Vice-Chair, Global Retail Banking, CEO Western Europe and CEO UK Retail Banking at Barclays, said: “Increasing transport capacity is important for investment and jobs in London. With new cyclists using Barclays Cycle Superhighways, existing cyclists increasing their time on the roads of the Capital, and the cycling business industry continuing to see investment, this is evidence of the success of the first two pilot routes.”

Average time spent on the Superhighways per journey is around 21 minutes for the Merton to City route and 17 minutes along the Barking to Tower Gateway route. Commuting made up around 80 per cent of journeys. Those who had switched to cycling said their main reasons were to improve fitness, save money and because the journey is ‘more peasant’.

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Tags: transport for london , tfl , barclays , cycle superhighway

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