A Transport for London (TfL) survey has revealed that bikes account for a quarter of vehicles in the rush hour.
While we've noticed that increasing numbers of people are cycling, some of the figures are nevertheless something of a surprise — the survey says 64% of all vehicles on Theobald’s Road travelling westbound are bikes (2,160 out of 3,350 vehicles).
But it's the bridges which see the highest volumes throughout the day with London Bridge clocking up a whopping 660 bikes per hour (9,245 total), Blackfriars Bridge with 600 per hour (8,401 total) and Waterloo Bridge with 579 per hour (8,105). In 2011, Blackfriars Bridge was the subject of some contentious TfL plans which resulted in a series of protests.
And how those protests have changed the face of cycling in London. Would we have seen anything like London mayor Boris Johnson's £913m cycling vision even five years ago? Although given Chancellor George Osborne's £220m cut to TfL's budget earlier this week, we suspect that the cycling vision may become a distant cycling memory.
TfL also released road safety figures today which say that while fatalities on London's roads are down by 2%, cycling casualties are up 18%, an increase which TfL say should be 'viewed in the context of the considerable increase in cycling over a number of years, resulting from encouragement of cycling as a sustainable mode of travel'. Cycling has increased by 176% between 2000/01 and 2012/13, and by 1.4% during 2012/13. Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones pointed out that the mayor has reduced the road safety budget from £59m in 2008 to £23m in 2012/13, saying:
"I am pleased to learn that road deaths are down but today’s figures show another alarming increase in the number of cyclists, pedestrians and children suffering seriously injuries on our roads. The Mayor should reverse his road safety budget cuts and roll out measures like 20mph zones to make our streets safe for people on foot and bike."
TfL Leon Daniels Managing Director of Surface Transport said:
"Improving road safety is something to which TfL remains totally dedicated. However, more is still required to reduce the number of serious injuries occurring, particularly involving vulnerable road users. Through sustained long-term investment, we will deliver the actions outlined in our recently published road safety action plan and the Mayor’s Cycle Vision for London to make the capital’s streets safer for all.”
Needless to say, the media spotlight on the capital's growing number of cyclists has again brought up the question of whether bikes should be subject to licencing, tax and insurance. We suspect the government would dearly love to apply the same charges to cyclists that they do to motorists (just think of all that lovely revenue) but know it would be a vote-loser on a par with axing the state pension.
See some more cycling figures on City Hall's website.
Photo by Ania Mendrek in the Londonist Flickr pool.