Mapping London’s cycling revolution

Personal injury solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp have collated data from the 2011 UK census, Transport for London and Bike Share, and produced a fascinating density map of cycle commuting in the capital. The map shows that, in some areas, rush-hour cycling is as high as 20% of all vehicle use, and the data reveal that the number of cyclists in Greater London has doubled in the past 10 years.

Politicians and transport planners know this full well, yet they continue to neglect the economic importance of cycling. Instead they focus on facilitating and improving motor transport flow to the exclusion of almost everything else, pedestrian safety and the quality of life in urban residential communities included.

With such a high modal share in some areas, cycle commuters – taxpaying cycle commuters – have every reason to be angry about the relative lack of road resources devoted to cycling in the capital. We in the London Cycling Campaign need to capitalise on that.

As for the distribution of cycling commuters in the outer boroughs, the map is both enlightening and puzzling. For example, in the relatively affluent southwest, taking in Wandsworth, Merton, Richmond and Kingston, the roads can be busy, fast and congested, yet they are full of cyclists. What about the cycling black holes that are the dormitory boroughs of Bexley and Bromley in the southeast? In the far north and east there are considerable distances to cover, with settlements linked by cycle-unfriendly roads that are best described as urban motorways.

Do the data reveal a demographic bias within the London cycling community as a whole? Possibly, but it would be difficult to argue this given the pattern of commuter densities mapped here.