National cycling statistics corrected

This article was published in 2003, in Newsletter 48.

Until last year, official figures showed cycle use in Great Britain declining by about 11% over the last decade. This is despite the efforts of the government, through its National Cycling Strategy, and others including, of course, Cambridge Cycling Campaign. In the latest national statistics Traffic in Great Britain: 1st Quarter 2003 from the Department for Transport, some errors in the earlier estimates have been corrected. That 11% decline has been ‘revised’ to a 5.5% increase.

It is estimated that in 2002 some 4.4 billion kilometres were travelled in Britain on bicycles. (That’s like a hundred thousand cyclists going round the world!) Cycle use has increased some 12% since its lowest point in 1998 with an increase of 4% last year. Of course we are still not likely to hit any of the targets for increasing cycle use given in the National Cycling Strategy, but at least there is good evidence that the decline in cycle use has been reversed. Now what we really want are some good measures of the amount of cycle kilometres travelled in the Cambridge area. Only then can we have a meaningful target for increasing cycle use as part of the Local Transport Plan.

River Cam ‘screen line’ cycle count for 2002

These are the numbers of cyclists crossing the Cam, counted over one day in spring.

Car-free bridge Cyclists
Coe Fen 449
Mill Lane 799
Garrett Hostel Lane 1720
Jesus Lock 1826
Fort St George 1525
Pye’s footbridge 917
Green Dragon 1779
Subtotal 9015
Road bridge Cyclists
Fen Causeway 1196
Silver Street 2071
Bridge Street 2918
Victoria Avenue 1313
Elizabeth Way 1831
Grand total 18344

For comparison, the 2001 total was 18103.

Jim Chisholm