Transport for London (TfL) says bicycles now make up one sixth of traffic in the centre of the capital, with cycling levels in London are now the greatest they have been since it began keeping records at the turn of the Millennium 15 years ago.
Mayor Boris Johnson says that the figures show the need for infrastructure such as the two proposed cross-city Cycle Superhighways, due to be approved by TfL’s board this week.
According to TfL, levels of cycling on the city’s major roads, which make up the TfL road network, rose by 10 per cent in the quarter from 14 September to 6 December compared to a year earlier, and by the end of the current financial year it expects annual growth to have hit 12 per cent.
Last year, for the first time TfL began monitoring the number of trips made by bike within the Congestion Charging zone, and says that 170,000 are being made each day, with bicycles now making up 16 per cent of traffic in Central London.
It adds that between a quarter and a half of all journeys on some routes during peak hours are undertaking by bike.
“Last week I announced my final intentions for the new East-West and North-South superhighways,” said Mr Johnson.
“These amazing numbers show how cyclists are becoming ubiquitous in London and prove, if further proof were needed, why we need to crack on with catering for them.”
TfL said that use of the city’s Cycle Hire scheme had also hit new highs, with just over 10 million journeys made during 2014 – up 25 per cent on the previous year, and 5 per cent greater than in 2012, which had been the year in which the scheme saw highest take-up.
It added that the number of hires made at Waterloo station had increased by 12 per cent, which it said suggested “more people are now using the scheme as a viable commuting option,” and it also revealed that customer satisfaction with the scheme was at record levels.
One of the reasons for the continued growth in use of the scheme is its wider availability – now covering 100 square kilometres and with further expansion planned, there are also more bikes and docking stations.
Mr Johnson said, “Barclays Cycle Hire continues to grow in popularity and there can be no doubt that our trusty bicycles have changed the way people get around our great city.”
Tfl’s director of strategy and planning for surface transport, Ben Plowden, added: “Our aim is to make cycling an integral part of London’s transport network and to be normalised so that anyone can jump on a bike to get to work, to the shops or to discover London.
“Seeing these continuously record breaking numbers of cyclists in London is a great demonstration that our work to make cycling easier and safer, including unprecedented levels of investment, is achieving this aim.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.