More cyclists than cars will enter central London in rush hour in the next few years, in what Transport for London has called ‘a feat unprecedented in any major city’.
In a report by TfL, it was noted that the number of car drivers fell from 137,000 in 2000 to 64,000 in 2014, and since 2000, London has achieved a net shift in mode share of 11.0 per cent away from private transport, principally the car, towards public transport, walking and cycling.
It adds that cycling tends to be more common on weekdays, reflecting the high numbers of people commuting by bike.
Despite a perception that cycling in London is dangerous, the report actually found that cycling
levels increased by 10.3 per cent between 2013 and 2014. There was an impressive 125.3 per cent increase in cycle journeys since 2000.
The figures for 2014 were a solid improvement on the couple of years before, suggesting that cycling was perceived as a better option for getting around.
Boris bikes too saw strong growth in the financial year to March 2015, with a total of 10.1
million cycle hires, up from 8.2 million to March 2014, an increase of 22.5 per cent. This is the highest number of yearly cycle hires so far.
The report did however note that “‘vulnerable’ road users account for a disproportionate number of KSI casualties –some 80 per cent, requiring a continued intensive focus on measures to reduce these numbers further over the coming years.”
It added: “Although TfL is taking the lead to make roads safer, wecannot achieve these casualty reductions alone. Ninety five per cent of London’s streets (by length) are the responsibility of boroughs and there are many other partners involved in reducing casualties. Forecast growth in London’s population and increasing levels of cycling pose an ongoing challenge to meet the Mayor’s new road safety target.”
Perhaps highlighting the importance of the ‘mini Holland’ projects to convert London’s outer boroughs into cycling havens, the report also says that “The different starting points in absolute density in inner and outer London are associated with very different travel behaviour, with a larger share of outer Londoners’ travel by car, and with inner Londoners’ travel more likely to be by
walking, cycling and public transport.”
“In 2000, the cycling mode share was 1 per cent for travel to central London and for all trips
in Greater London; however in 2014 the mode share for morning peak travel to central London is 3 per cent, compared to a Greater London average of 2 per cent,” said the report.
There is also work to be done to promote cycling for women, as cycle mode share among
men increased by more than 2 percentage points, while among women the increase was of less than half a percentage point.
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.