“Is cycle commuting about to go MASSIVE?”
This is the kind of statement you can routinely find on internet cycling forums. Now, I don’t doubt that some commuting cyclists are seeing a few more people cycling when they are heading to and from work. Perhaps this is a result of fuel being a bit more expensive (not very likely), or congestion getting worse (more likely), or people on a bit of health drive after New Year (likelier still).
What I would hesitate to do is to suddenly proclaim that we are about to enter a golden age of cycling, on the basis of little more than anecdotes.
Here’s one of the main junctions in my town, Horsham, at commuting time, a couple of weeks ago.
Has cycling gone MASSIVE on this evidence?
If you watch carefully, you will see me spot one solitary cyclist passing through this junction, at about eight minutes in. How many motor vehicles do we see during the rest of this nine-and-a-half minute video?
I make that a “modal share” of 0.2%, which is absolutely pitiful, especially considering that cycling levels at commuting periods are generally higher than during the rest of the day.
Out of fairness, I stood at this junction for forty minutes, from 5 until 5:40 pm. Assuming, reasonably enough, that the rate of motor vehicle flow did not alter significantly, we can say that around 3100 motor vehicles pass through this junction in that period. I saw seven more cyclists during these forty minutes (all of whom, incidentally, were riding on the pavement, unlike the intrepid commuter in the video clip). So eight cyclists, versus 3100 cars. That’s a slightly better, yet still pitiful, modal share of 0.3%.
Cycling is not “going massive” in Horsham.