An annual roadside count of commuting cyclists has been carried out by Aberdeen Cycle Forum volunteers for more than 10 years. The count takes place during morning commuting time at 16 locations across the city.
Almost 1,000 cyclists were counted but numbers are fairly static in comparison with previous years and there is no sign of the significant upward trend that campaigners would like to see and which is now happening in many other cities. Indeed numbers are 20% lower this year when compared with a peak in 2016. Two of the three top results are for Aberdeen’s traffic-free routes on the Deeside Way and the ‘Shell’ path near Abbotswell Road.
Also, as in previous years, the proportion of female cyclists is only one fifth of the total which is significant because female riders are thought to be more risk-averse. This reinforces the idea that many people feel the city’s streets are currently too dangerous to cycle on because of the volume and speed of traffic.
There is a strong case for investing in high-quality segregated routes for cyclists and experience elsewhere has shown that the return in public benefits is at least £5 for every £1 invested. However routes need to be properly designed and route priorities carefully selected. The count data shows that some of Aberdeen’s recent investment in segregated routes such as on the Riverside, Ellon Road, and the Jubilee Bridge are not yet being well used.