Video analysis shows that London’s cyclists aren’t speed demons and always use cycleways

The overwhelming majority of cyclists in London use the protected Cycle Superhighways, and only a tiny fraction of cyclists ride at more than 20mph, finds a new report from Transport for London.

The Cycle Infrastructure Monitoring report dispels many of the myths used by shock-jocks and others to talk down London’s cycle infrastructure. Using video analysis, automatic cycle counters, human monitoring and personal interviews the report provides hard data on how cyclists are using Cycle Superhighways and other forms of infrastructure, such as new forms of Advanced Stop Lines and traffic-light "gates".

Significantly, the report also analyses how pedestrians, motorists and disabled people react to cycle infrastructure – in short, the innovations introduced by Transport for London are working well, and compliance from all parties is high.

The report states that "cyclists displayed a high level of compliance with the cycle-specific signals at hold-the-left facilities (87 per cent) which was 3 per cent greater than for those cyclists using the main carriageway and signals for general traffic."

Showing that cyclists use cycleways when they are of good quality the report adds that "91 per cent of cyclists used the cycle track in preference to the main carriageway."

And, by using video analysis rather than anecdote, the Cycle Infrastructure Monitoring report reveals that 66 per cent of cyclists ride slower than 15mph. A whopping 96 per cent cycle at under 20mph. This hard data helps to prove that London is not plagued with Strava-fixated speed-demon cyclists.

Perhaps surprisingly, the report shows that cyclists ride at slightly higher speeds in the morning peak compared to going-home time. The average speed was 15.9mph in the morning and 15.1mph in the afternoon.

While 15mph is 5mph below the magic "safe speed" limit of 20mph, it’s actually double the speed of the average motorist in London who, because of all the other space-inefficient motorists, can often only chug along at 7mph.

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