Edinburgh’s cycling modal share “highest ever recorded”

Cycling campaign group Spokes has revealed that a May 2016 traffic count in Scotland’s capital city gave cycling a stunning 26.1% modal share during the 8 to 9am rush hour.

The news follows this Cycling Scotland study, which reveals that bicycle use is up 46% in a decade. Including non rush-hour findings, Cycling Scotland believes that Edinburgh has a 4.2% overall modal share for cycling. Nationwide that figure sat at around 1.4% in 2014, which despite being a low figure, is a marked increase on the prior year’s 1%.

Despite a lack of what could fairly be described as bike friendly infrastructure, the count, which takes place on the second Tuesday of each month, 22.7% of vehicles headed for the city along commuter artery Lothian Road were bicycles. On the city facing side of Forrest Road that figure was 26.1%.

The count took in all vehicle types in both directions and counted over 500 bikes in one hour. Private car use is gradually declining, reveal the stats, with the same month last year recording 1,663 against this year’s 1,617.

As part of the count, data was recorded on car occupancy and it was calculated that 77% on the roads had just one person within.

Long term census trends point to an overall tipping of the balance, with cycle use rising against falling motor vehicle counts. Edinburgh’s transport strategy is to reduce car trips by 12% from 2010 to 2020.

Cycling Scotland’s analysis places 74.9% of journeys in the city at under 5km for all modes, suggesting that investing in cycling could see a drastic modal shift change.

In terms of children cycling to primary school, that share has risen from 5.8% in 2009-2011, to 6.2% in 2014. That does however fall substantially by secondary school, as seems to be the trend  nationwide, dipping to 1.3%.

You can catch the findings in full here.

This article has now been added to our detailed breakdown of cities around the globe that are increasing cycling’s share on the roads.