Chris Boardman says "Bike lanes aren’t for cyclists – they’re for motorists" - because providing safe infrastructure encourages people to make journeys by bike that they might otherwise have undertaken by car.
The former world and Olympic champion, who in May was appointed Greater Manchester's first cycling and walking commissioner, made his comment as the one millionth journey was recorded on the protected cycleway outside Manchester Royal Infirmary on Oxford Road.
An automatic cycle counter was installed there in September last year on the route from Fallowfield to Manchester city centre and this week ticked over into seven figures,
According to Transport for Greater Manchester, those one million trips by bike equate to approximately 621,000 car journeys based on average vehicle occupancy, and have potentially resulted in a reduction of 1.9 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide and 873.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
“I’m not surprised that the Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road cycleway has been a huge success," said Boardman
“It proves that, if you build high-quality cycle lanes that are separated from other traffic, people will use them.
“It may sound strange, but bike lanes aren’t for cyclists – they’re for motorists. They’re the people we need to get to change if we’re to make a major shift in the way we travel around our towns and cities.
“More than 30 per cent of journeys in Greater Manchester under 1 kilometre are made by car, so the potential here is absolutely enormous," he added.
"One million cycle journeys counted on Oxford Road in 14 months is a fantastic figure, and I hope we reach the second million in even quicker time.”
Manchester City Council's Executive Member for the Environment and Skills, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, commented: “The Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road Cycleway has helped to encourage many more Mancunians to get on their bikes and we're heartened by the evident success of this scheme.
“Investing in high-quality infrastructure of this kind is just one of the ways in which we're helping to promote cycling in Manchester and, while there's more work to be done, passing the milestone of one million cycle journeys in just over a year is an impressive start. We are determined to build on this success.”
Data from the counters, located on each side of Oxford Road, can be compared on the Eco Counters website with those from cities elsewhere in the world using them, with UK locations including London and Cambridge.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.