Following the opening of the new Third Don Crossing recently we were anxious to see what the long-awaited and purpose-built new cycle path would be like. Unfortunately, its far from perfect. In this opinion piece by two ACF members, they consider what mistakes have been made and how it could have been so much better had just a little more thought gone into the design. Read their critique here.
Aberdeen Cycle Forum conducted its annual cycle count on 17, 18, and 19 May with some data from the new council automatic cycle counters (counter data from 24 May). You can see the full results here.
The count ran from 7:00am to 9:00am. This is the second year of the expanded time frame for the count. Previous to 2015, the count began at 7:30am.
The weather was much better this year than last. While we do not count in rainy conditions, we do not exclude counting under any other types of weather; 2015’s count was conducted in weather that was very cold and overcast while 2016’s count was completed in weather that was merely overcast.
The count numbers are down compared with 2015 – a 120 cyclist drop from last year. However, the count was within 30 of the 2014 count. We’ve also produced a graphic to illustrate the apparent trend – here.
Anecdotally, the city appears to be increasing in cyclist activity – perhaps the common routes for cycling are shifting.
With the installation of the automatic cycle counters, we can look forward to a better understanding of cyclist activity in Aberdeen over a much larger time period than our annual snapshots provide. We hope that this will show cycle modal share to be greater than what we are able to estimate with the cycle count.
Many thanks to the volunteers who gave up their time to count at the various locations.
The Council have currently engaged consultants to look at cross-city transport connections and a drop in session took place on 18 May. There is a particular focus on the various new developments that are taking place or planned for the fringes of the city.
You can see some of the detail of what was presented here and there is an email address that you can send comments in to.
We hope that like many of us here at ACF you are excited about the prospect of our second very own North-East ‘Pedal on Parliament’ ride taking place next Saturday, 23 April, starting from Hazlehead Drive at 12 noon. We will ride gently down to assemble outside Marishcal College where we hope to present our case to various City and Shire Councillors, and possibly some candidate MSPs too.
If you took part in the ride in 2015, the arrangements are just the same. If you are new then you will be especially welcome and we are certainly hoping to exceed the 100+ riders who joined in last year.
If you don’t know the route, a detailed guide is available. But do please remember that the ride is on open roads with no special traffic management in place, so is only likely to be suitable for confident cyclists. Anyone who is unable to join the ride is still very welcome to meet us at Marischal College and add their voice to the campaign.
After the gathering at Marischal, photo opportunities etc a number of us intend to carry on the discussion at 6 Degrees North – a continental-style bar just round the corner on Littlejohn St. They serve food and coffee as well as a fantastic range of craft beers. Unfortunately, due to Licensing restrictions, under 18s are not permitted in the bar.
A risk assessment for the ride is also available should you wish to read it.
Following the success of our ride last year, we are repeating the event – from Hazlehead Park to Marischal College. The route will be via Hazlehead Drive, Queens Road, Albyn Place, Union St and Broad St. The distance is 3 ¼ miles and is slightly downhill. Estimated ride time at a gentle pace is 20 – 30 minutes.
Last year we had 100 riders leaving Hazlehead so this year we are hoping the ride will be even bigger and better!
Please note that this ride takes place on open roads and in normal city center traffic conditions. There are no closed roads or other traffic management. Participants will be responsible for their own behavior and their own safety at all times. Because the route is on busy city center roads, it is likely to be suitable only for cyclists who are familiar and comfortable with cycling in traffic.
The ride will leave Hazlehead Park at 12 noon, arriving at Marischal College by around 1230 where we hope to meet and speak to a number of Councillors from Aberdeen City Council. Assembly point at Hazlehead will be on the running track alongside Hazlehead Drive.
The purpose of the ride is to raise the profile of cycling in Aberdeen. The ride is a peaceful demonstration of our right to ride. We do not intend to cause any unnecessary disruption to traffic or disobey the rules of the road. Please respect this!
The route does cross busy roundabouts including Anderson Drive at Queens Road. At this and other roundabouts, less confident riders should be able to dismount and use pedestrian crossings, rejoining the ride after the junction. It is also proposed that riders who wish to miss out all the roundabouts could instead assemble on Albyn Place / Rubislaw Terrace Gardens, and join the ride there (1215). Anyone else wishing to show support but unable to join the ride is very welcome to meet the riders at Marischal College (1230).
Please note that no food or drink will be provided. There are toilets available at Hazlehead Park and at various locations near the arrival point in the city centre. Remember to dress appropriately for the weather and for cycling. You may wish to consider wearing a cycle helmet and brightly coloured / high visibility clothing, but these are not compulsory.
When assembling in front of Marischal College we have been asked by Aberdeen City Council to be aware of the need to respect the environment and the needs of others. Please ensure that the pavement is not obstructed to pedestrians or passers- by who are not involved in the ride, and please do not park your bicycle against the building or statue plinth. We hope to see you there on the 23rd!
At our January meeting we were pleased to have a Q&A session with Kathryn Mackay who is Cycling Development Officer working at Nestrans in a post created almost 2 years ago, jointly with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils, and with support from Sustrans. A summary of the discussion can be seen here.
This year’s cycle count took place on 12, 13, and 14 May. The days were cold, but mostly sunny. We were not sure whether folks had switched over from winter to summer in their cycling habits since the spring has been so variable. After discussions following last year’s count, we decided to start the process at 7:00 am instead of 7:30. The volunteers generously picked up the extra half hour so that we would have data from both the old time period and the new one. If the new time period is taken forward, we will continue to count the full two hours for an additional two years in order to have comparison data during a transition period. The count did reveal that there are greater numbers of commuting cyclists at certain locations at the earlier time period. However, for some positions the 90 minute window of 7-8:30 did not vary greatly from the 7:30-9 window. Unfortunately, the cycle count is down the year compared to the large numbers counted last year. However, similar dips have occurred in previous years. Looking at a three year average of ’13-’15 to ’10-’12 the trend is definitively upwards. The full breakdown of numbers can be found here . Aberdeen City Council joined in the effort again this year and added five new sites to this year’s count in locations where new infrastructure has been installed or will be installed. We hope to see these numbers go up as the options for cycle transport become better connected. Finally, a huge thanks to our volunteers who helped with Cycle Count 2015!
It’s been a couple of weeks since our very first ‘PoP Aberdeen’ ride. We hope you were as pleased to see it happen as we were. Such a stroke of luck to get some sunshine in that week of rain!
We had more than 100 riders leave Hazlehead Park and we had cyclists joining us seemingly from every corner – some even joined from side streets on Union Street itself! At Marischal College, we were met by some of you who couldn’t cycle on the day as well as MP Dame Anne Begg, Councillors Neil Cooney, John Corall, Ross Thomson, Gordon Townson, and Ian Yuill. We were able to have a chat with them about cycling in Aberdeen – both conditions now and what we’d like to see for the future.
We had some press coverage, maybe you’ll spot yourself in the photos!
The Citizen article is no longer online, but here are ones from the Press & Journal and the Evening Express:
There was some wider coverage of Pedal on Parliament – here’s the BBC article:
Thank you to everyone who shared information to get the word out about the ride, thank you to those who rode along, thank you to those who met us at Marischal, and thank you to the group of ACF members that worked so hard behind the scenes to make it happen.
We’re not sure what date we’ll choose for next year’s ride, but we will definitely be making a tradition of this. We’ll let you know as soon as possible about a date for 2016!