Where do all the hire bikes go?

So much of our understanding of the city — its areas and their relationships and divisions — have been determined by the traditional motorist’s road map.  (London is luckier than many cities because its river and tube lines also help define its structure in people’s minds.)

In this visualisation of the hire bike movements on Oct 4, an alternative map of London appears, and really lights up at 5pm.  Some of the Road Atlas routes appear — Holborn-Cheapside, the Strand, and Charing Cross-Totenham Court Roads — but in place of the Euston Road is a new highway through Torrington and Tavistock Places; Piccadilly is replaced by Constitution Hill and Birdcage Walk; and a north-south artery from Cubitt Street down what looks like Packenham Street, Phoenix Place, Warner Street, Saffron Hill and Shoe Lane to Blackfriars Bridge.*

Politicians and planners need to start thinking about the city from the perspective of maps like these.  The great green and orange scrawls of the Road Atlas are increasingly irrelevant.

* though I’m not actually sure how accurate the routes are, given start and end points are recorded, but as far as I know, the exact places in between aren’t.

(Via Matt Brown.)

What’s wrong with this number?

Prominently reported in the Camden Cycling Plan update:

The latest update from Spring and Autumn 2008 shows a positive growth in cycling. Between 2007 and 2008 there has been an increase in numbers cycling by 44.6% and the estimated modal share for cycle use is 11.19%.

An impressive achievement that is rightly celebrated.  Camden repeat it in their more general transport reports as the take-home-message on cycling.

If you bother reading as far as the graphs and tables:

As the authors of the report rightly say:

Cycling fell by 16% between 2006 and 2007 which was out of line with the longer term trends. The recent data has indicates that 2007 was a “blip” year with 2008 showing cycling increases and the overall trend back on track.

Fancy that.  This is how cycling revolutions are made.

Seriously, though: these kind of numbers matter, because basic data on cycling demographics are needed if, for example, medical statisticians are to be able to comment on why we see the patterns that we see in cyclist death and injury.  I don’t necessarily think that collecting that sort of serious data is something that we should be expecting overstretched borough and district councils to do.  But there isn’t anyone else.