Cycling journeys into Glasgow increase by over 200%
The number of cycle journeys being made into and from Glasgow city centre has increased from 3,012 to 9,255 per day – a rise of 207% – since 2007.
This indicates a flow of … 1,851,000 cycle journeys undertaken annually to and from the city centre.
I’m no mathematician, but it’s very easy to work out that if there are 1.8 million cycle journeys to or from the city centre per year then that’s an average of about 5000 per day – so the 9255 “per day” figure is most likely a high point, not an average.
A total of 35 sites form a cordon around the centre of the city and are monitored between 6:00 am and 8:00 pm over two successive days each September.
Scaling the figures provides an estimate of the number of walking and cycling trips undertaken in Glasgow annually.
September is a good time to count lots of cyclists because the students have returned and the weather is still okay, but this tells us nothing about levels of cycling at other times of the year. It would be far better to install automatic counters at all the entry points to the city centre and have them running all year round. There would then be no need to mess around with “scaling” and “estimates”.
If the counts really were taken in September each year then it would at least be possible to identify year-on-year trends. But according to the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (download PDF, see footnote on p8), the 2007 and 2008 counts were taken in June. “Annual” data collected at completely different times of the year is academically worthless, yet here it is being presented as hard evidence.
Undeterred by such trifling questions of statistical rigour, Gordon Matheson claims credit for the alleged rise and asserts that the fabulous pro-cycling policies of Glasgow City Council are behind it:
“The upward trend in journeys undertaken by cycling and walking in the city can be attributed to a number of factors. The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, improvements to cycle paths and parking, the completion of the Bridge to Nowhere and the launch of Glasgow’s cycle hire scheme have all played major roles.”
And did you know that
The council has earned widespread praise for its work in delivering the Connect2 scheme at the Anderston Footbridge – the completion of the landmark Bridge to Nowhere.
Not from this blog, it hasn’t.
The council was praised for the significant benefits its sustainable transport strategy has delivered. The completed ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, the increased number of people cycling and reduced cycle casualties were areas highlighted for Glasgow’s success.
The £1.3M initiative was recognised by the judges as an important link in Glasgow’s £3.5M Connect2 scheme. The bridge now connects Kelvingrove Park with Central Station using a mainly Copenhagen style two way segregated cycle and walk way.
This route links the residential Anderston community with local schools and leisure facilities and is designed to accommodate all levels of cyclists as well as providing a new commuter route from the West End into the city centre.
Reading that, you’d never guess that usage of this multi-award-winning facility could be in decline. Yet thanks to the new public bike counter, this is what we can now deduce. Back in August I posted this picture and worked out that bike traffic on the bridge was around 400 per day:
I took this photo last week:
I’m sorry to say that the average daily bike traffic between the 6th of August and the 20th of October was just over 200 per day. Obviously the weather plays a role, but I think there’s more to it than that. During the summer, both myself and STV News reporter Michael MacLeod fell off our bikes on the western ramp of the bridge, which was covered in slippery leaves. These painful incidents were a direct consequence of Glasgow City Council’s systematic neglect of the maintenance of cycle facilities, which can be observed all over the city – and, as I noted yesterday, such neglect has particularly deleterious effects on the cycling experience in the autumn. If people can reasonably expect to get hurt while cycling, then they won’t cycle. That’s what’s happening here. Cycling is being suppressed, not facilitated.
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