Increase in people cycling in Cork #Evidence

11 January 2021
By Tom Collins
tom@TheCork.ie

Cork Cycling Campaign have data showing “massive growth” in the number of people cycling in the Cork metro region over the last year. The cycling group is working with Strava Metro, whose dataset provides the largest collection of active travel (walking and cycling) information in the world. The data revealed striking changes in mobility patterns in Cork:

  • 35% growth in cycling in 2020 compared to 2018/19 figures.
  • Cycling numbers increased across all age categories
  • A doubling of the number of children/teenagers cycling
  • Cycling over the winter months almost doubled compared to 2018/19 levels.
  • Strong growth in the number of people walking was also observed

The Campaign described the strong growth in Cork cycling as consistent with mobility patterns in cities around the world. The biggest change in urban mobility patterns around the world over the last 15 years has been the growing recognition by cities of the positive role of cycling in reducing a city’s climate emissions, and improving air quality and traffic congestion. Increased rates of physical activity by walking or cycling also have a large positive public health effect. Much of this year’s exceptional growth was also likely in response to public health advice from the government and the WHO to walk and cycle wherever possible. The group also noted anecdotal evidence of strong growth elsewhere in Ireland, especially in cycling to school.

The Strava Metro data also showed the major cycling routes around the city. The majority of people cycling in Cork favoured direct over indirect routes.

Brian Murphy from the Cork Cycling Campaign stated that “the data clearly confirms the impression that many more people are cycling this year. With the city council rolling out protected cycle lanes, we expect to see even more people cycling to work and school in the near future”.

Cork Cycling Campaign planned to continue analysing the mobility data into the future, especially on routes like Centre Park Road which have been recently introduced by the Council. The Campaign welcomed the city council’s work in protecting cycle lanes, and noted that it would make cycling to work and school attractive for much greater numbers of people. The group expects further strong growth in the number of people cycling in 2021 and will be examining the dataset for evidence of the impact of the new Council infrastructure. The Campaign are continuing their research into local cycling through their annual cycling survey at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe6lXt07SH3NQ11p1q2b1vsm2n-Xu1gfrjmiFzwgXfVKOdmMg/viewform

The Campaign expressed their appreciation to Stava Metro for access to their data. This report includes aggregated and de-identified data from Strava Metro. The Campaign also called on the council to install cyclist and pedestrian counters along key routes into the city to produce independent data on active travel on city commuting routes. Such data are an essential part of smart city transport management.

Cork Cycling Campaign works with local councils and public bodies, community groups, and other institutions to advocate and advise on improved cycling infrastructure and to encourage people to cycle. The Campaign’s focus is primarily on everyday cycling – that is, cycling as a form of transport. We also support the development of recreational cycling facilities. The Campaign strives to improve the safety of people cycling and to encourage mutual consideration, understanding, and respect between people who walk, cycle, and drive. It is a member of Cyclist.ie, the Irish member of the European Cyclists Federation.

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