Forrest Road, a popular city-centre route for cyclists, saw record numbers of cyclists using it in the morning rush hour, while motor traffic was down

One in four vehicles heading into Edinburgh city centre on one street on Tuesday morning was a bicycle, according to a local cycling group, after its annual traffic count.

Spokes cycle campaign counted traffic between 8-9am on Forrest Road, a popular city centre route with cycle commuters, and found 26.1 per cent of vehicles was a person on a bike. A separate count, on Lothian Road, found cyclists accounted for 22.7 per cent of traffic.

The count revealed the highest ever proportion – and overall number - of cyclists using the roads. Meanwhile car numbers were down, 77 per cent of which had just one occupant.

Record numbers turn out for 2016 Pedal on Parliament

A Spokes spokesman said: “This is a big success for the council, which has a bold local transport strategy target to cut car use from 43 per cent of all trips in 2010 to just 31 per cent in 2020.”

The count registered more than 500 cycles for the first time in its 11 year history, while private cars dropped from 1663 last May to 1617 this May.

Spokes said of the growth in cycling on Lothian Road, which was up from 19.1% last year, makes a case for protected bike tracks.

“The level and growth of cycling demand, and the falling motor traffic, surely cry out for segregated cycling provision on this relatively wide, but scary, city-centre road.  There are few roads in the city which would benefit so strongly from such a scheme and, as shown by the London Superhighways there is almost certainly a big pent-up further demand from people who’d like to cycle but don’t feel safe until they have the right conditions,” it said.

Plans to link east and west of Edinburgh via new cycle route

Spokes says the Council should use the growth in cycling to speed up its plans to invest in infrastructure for cycling, as well as walking and public transport.

It says: “The planned East-West segregated route should be progressed robustly; there is an ever stronger case for cycle facilities on Lothian Road and the council should certainly think again about its inexplicable proposal to allow motor traffic to use all bus lanes off-peak and to scrap Saturday bus lanes altogether.”

With the growth in bikes, comes a perhaps unsurprising growth in bike shops – in 2010 Spokes bike map listed 13, while in the forthcoming edition, there will be a record 32.