We hear a lot lately about the risks that London bike commuters face every day. In the last few weeks no fewer than three people on bike have been killed in collisions with trucks, and just this morning a 44-year-old man was in serious condition in hospital after being crushed by a tipper truck.
However, in analysing where the popular places for bike commuters to live and their commuting routes, renting advice site rentonomy points out: “Cycling in London is generally quite safe. While it's true that last year 16 people were killed cycling, Transport for London estimates that people make around 540,000 bike trips every day in the city.”
Blue areas indicate the highest density of bike commuters (Graphic courtesy rentonomy.com)
“The number of cyclists on the Capital’s major roads has more than doubled since 2000 – up nine per cent in the year 2008-09 alone,” writes rentonomy’s David Butler.
The stereotypical view of London cycling is that typical bike riders in the capital are fixie-riding Hackney hipsters. Rentonomy doesn’t have any data on bikes and lifestyles, but Butler says the the top five areas where bike commuters live include Dalston, Stoke Newington and Clapton, all in the borough of Hackney, plus neighbouring Highbury in Islington.
Butler says that 12% of all commuters cycle into work from Dalston. “Others in the top five are Stoke Newington (10%), Highbury (9%), Clapton (9%) and Herne Hill (8%), according to the 2011 census.”
The money saved by commuting by bike is substantial. “With annual Travelcards costing £1,200 (zones 1-2) and £1,400 (zones 1-3), these savvy cyclists could be saving between 8% and 15% of their rent,” says Butler.
And where are these commuters going?
Butler says: “We used data from the 2001 census to see where people from these top 5 cycle areas are cycling to in their daily commute, and created the map at the bottom of this article. With the exception of Dalston, by far the most popular commuting destination is Victoria and St James. This is to be expected as this area is the most common commuting destination of all methods of transport. Dalston residents are most likely to cycle to Haggerston, Bloomsbury or the West End.”
Bike commuter destinations (Graphic courtesy rentonomy.com)
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.