Does Richmond really know how and why people cycle in the borough? And where?
It’s a question that came up at the last Cycling Liaison Group in Richmond. http://cabnet.richmond.gov.uk/documents/g3144/Printed%20minutes%20Monday%2016-Jul-2012%2019.00%20Cycling%20Liaison%20Group.pdf?T=1
Although the minutes don’t report it, there was a lengthy discussion about how you gather data about cycling in the borough. Apparently both TfL and Richmond have counters sensitive enough to record cyclists as well as cars and trucks. (The minutes mention a vague undertaking to see if the data can be supplied …)
But the data isn’t easily available. Until someone pointed out that the data must be available through Freedom of Information, council officers seemed unsure whether they’d even be able to publish it.
Which finally got me thinking. Cllr Harrison (the member for Transport) was keen to boast about the 5% modal share that cycling has in the borough, but seemed less keen to talk about the basics of how we measure this. And I suddenly thought: is this because so much of that modal share happens around Richmond Park? Because any local knows that Richmond Park is just unusable at the weekend as you see so many lycra-clad middle-aged men endanger deer and drivers with their reckless cycling and enjoyment of the park … (See Rik Andrew’s submission to the London Assembly’s transport committee: “Richmond has more cycling because there’s more green space”) http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Annex%20A%20-%20full%20transcript%2012-07-12.pdf If Richmond is really counting people cycling round the park as modal share, then that could be significant skewing of the real state of the borough’s cycling strategy. (If there were one, of course.)
So, whether the promised traffic data will tell us much useful about modal share in the borough, or whether it’ll just muddy the waters remains to be seen. Still, making council officials come to the Cycling Liaison Group does have the benefit of ensuring that attendance reaches double figures.