Cycling to work overtakes driving in a London borough

First time in decades that cycling has been preferred method of commuting

by Sarah Barth   February 2, 2013  

Bow cyclists only lights

For the first time in decades, cycling to work has overtaken driving to work in a London borough - and more are set for a similar revolution in the coming years.

The 2011 Census figures show that even before the Olympic cycling boom, more than 15 per cent of Hackney residents were cycling to work, compared with 12 per cent travelling by car.

The figures also showed a decrease in reliance on cars in Hackney in general - 65 per cent of households are now car-free, up from 56% in 2001.

In other boroughs, like Westminster, the figures lag far behind, with only 5 per cent of residents cycling to work.

In the Evening Standard, Danny Williams, of the Cyclists in the City blog, say that it's not just down to hipster trends, or fluke, but a result of persistent work by town planners over a number of years.

He writes: "Hackney has restricted the amount of new car parking available in new residential developments and made it easier and safer for people to chose not to drive.

"Importantly, Hackneyʼs policies have focused on making sure that every scheme – whether itʼs a new building or an upgrade of an existing road – improves the public realm and sense of place.

"That means some residential streets that had become rat runs for long-distance car commuters are closed to through motor-traffic and the streets become places for the people who live and work there instead."

But in Westminster, where only 27 per cent of households in Westminster own a car (down from 33 per cent in 2001), it's a different story.

He says: "Westminster has never embraced the bicycle, neither has it had much of a focus on making its streets better for pedestrians.

"When it did try to ban parking on street corners to help elderly and less mobile residents cross the road, a well-coordinated lobby group campaigned vociferously against the move.

"When new developments are built in the centre of London, Westminster insists a minimum number of new car parking spaces get built as well."

But it's not all good news for cyclists in Hackney. At the end of last year we reported Metropolitan police figures showing that 119 cyclists were victims of hit-and-run incidents in the London borough of Hackney in 2010 - a huge increase on previous years.

According to Critical Mass: "Nearly 1 in every 6 pedal cyclist casualties (16 per cent) in the UK occurs in a ‘hit and run’ accident – a total of 2,665 in 2007 of which 337 were seriously injured and 16 killed. Pedal cyclists are over-represented in these accidents, representing 11 per cent of hit and run casualties (compared with 7 per cent of all casualties)."

In 2004 in Hackney, there were 224 hit and run incidents in total, around 12 per cent of which, or about 26, were involving cyclists.

80 per cent of hit and run incidents in London are caused by cars. Only one per cent are caused by cyclists.

4 user comments

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Today Hackney, and tomorrow, the world!

posted by Argos74 [182 posts]
2nd February 2013 - 10:53

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Are people beginning to see the light?

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [462 posts]
3rd February 2013 - 8:04

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On the evidence of this morning - can we go back to the old days please? I was nearly knocked off twice today by other cyclists, and that's despite giving inordinate amounts of space.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [569 posts]
4th February 2013 - 13:22

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This is a no brainer. Most commuters in London don't drive to work, and most don't cycle to work either.

Don't give up the day job waiting for cycling to be top of the list for any travel or commute.

Road safety 'experts' are often folk who's CV doesn't cut the mustard.

posted by Sedgepeat [44 posts]
6th February 2013 - 1:52

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