Cycle Winchester is concerned about a lack of meaningful (or shared) data related to cycle use in the city. The aim is to build a picture of the number of cyclists in the city and the routes being used. Read on for details of the first of our regular cycle counts.
Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council both have transport and climate change strategies that aim to increase levels of cycling. However currently there seems to be inadequate baseline data by which success could be measured.
Cycle Winchester has commenced a study which looks at cyclists on the roads and the routes they use. The intention is to monitor levels of cycling at these locations on a regular basis: winter, spring and autumn.
We have completed our first set of counts, at 10 sampling points around the city where, at each, a single count was carried out between 8am and 10am on a midweek morning between late-January and mid-February.
We are publishing our data in a report, which already reveals some very interesting findings.
Key facts emerging from our survey
We counted cyclists at 10 locations around the city between 8am and 10am in effect on a single, cold February weekday morning.
- There were 231 cycle movements in the hour before 9am, 124 cycle movements in the hour after 9am.
- Busiest locations were North Walls, College Street, Worthy Road and Stockbridge Road.
- Least busy locations were the City Bridge, lower Romsey Road and upper Romsey Road.
- 1 in 7 of the cyclists on North Walls were trying to go the ‘wrong’ way, indicating a lack of safer, legal options.
It is salutary to spend two hours during the early morning observing travel patterns at various locations around the city. It is impossible to miss the extent to which, despite all the rhetoric, pedestrians and cyclists are still treated as second-class citizens.
Watching pedestrians bunched up together on narrow, fume-filled street corners waiting patiently for a gap in a stream of cars is the clearest possible indication that Winchester has got its transport priorities completely wrong. And watching cyclists choosing to push their bikes up narrow pavements against the traffic flow sends the same message.
There are many straightforward measures that would immediately begin the process of change, not least more shared (Toucan) road crossings and a city-wide 20mph limit that is strictly enforced.
There are far too few cyclists coming into the city along our radial routes. The roads are too busy and there is no real accommodation of the cyclist. Admittedly it was on a day during the Wellhouse Lane closure but whilst noting a total of 27 cycle movements at the Worthy Road/Dyson Drive/Stoke Road location between 8am and 9am there were an estimated 700 inbound cars.
On the other hand, there are a good number of cyclists making cross city journeys on quieter routes. At the moment they are doing it in an ad-hoc fashion often with inconvenient dismounts, occasional use of pavements and awkward crossings. Work is needed to develop a coherent network that allows this activity to flourish and become the predominant way that Winchester residents travel from one part of the city to another.