Like Rain Man, I’m Counting Cards
Actually, not cards, but cars. And there were too many of them to count, so I contented myself with counting bikes.
Last Sunday afternoon the weather was fine, so I set up my Action Camera lookout out of our bedroom window to watch the road that runs outside the house, along the sea front. I thought it would be fun to count how many bikes rode past in an hour. I could then review the non-high def. footage at my leisure.
Speaking of leisure, Sunday’s are pretty busy with leisure cyclists, and my guess was that in an hour of footage, I might see 30 or so bikes. But I wasn’t even close - in total there were 64 bikes rode past in an hour, with an average interval between them of just 54 seconds:
OK, so it’s not Copenhagen, Amsterdam, or even Cambridge. But that’s still a healthy number of bikes being ridden. Sadly they were drastically outnumbered by the cars.
Speaking of cars, how many bikes were sharing the road, and how many were on the pavement?
That’s quite a split - especially given that it’s actually illegal for anyone over the age of 11 to ride a bike on the pavement in the UK.
Thinking of ages, I did an approximation of the riders age (”adult” or “child”), and also of their gender. This was a little harder, because my video footage isn’t too clear!
And then finally, I looked at whether or not people were wearing helmets. This proved a bit of a shocker to me, as my perception was that the majority in the UK DO wear helmets. However, the data from a typical Sunday afternoon says otherwise:
Only just over a third of cyclists were wearing helmets. There seems to be a perception of the relative risks and how much protection a helmet offers too. 27% of cyclists on the pavement wore a helmet, while 58% of those on the road were wearing one. Of course, if you do fall off your bike, a helmet will
offer some protection. But they’re designed to protect against falls from stationery bikes, not from being hit by a car / truck / bus. Do the cyclists on the road believe that they’re more likely to fall off than those on the pavement? In my experience, the reverse is true - on the pavement, pedestrians are completely unaware of cyclists approaching from behind (why do just SO many people wear iPods when they’re out for a walk?), and it’s not uncommon for them to swerve right into your path. It’s mainly for this reason that I’m completely against mixed cyclist / pedestrian routes.
Food for thought.