Records have been smashed as more people than ever have moved to pedal power and have chosen to use the Oxford Road cycle route.
During a three-week period between September 26 and October 26 more than 6,000 people cycled along the route on not just one occasion, but on nine separate days.*
This represents the highest level of usage in the history of the cycle lane as 6,980 users were logged on October 10, the previous record being set in October 2019, when 5,862 people were recorded.
Another significant milestone has been hit as well, with the one millionth journey being recorded along the cycle lane on October 20th – one month earlier than the previous record.
Since it opened in 2017 the cycleway has been a benchmark of the ambition the Council holds to improve cycling provision throughout the city. As work continues to become a zero-carbon city by 2038, it is crucial that more people are enabled into using more environmentally friendly methods of travel such as cycling, but also walking and using public transport.
Additionally, this transport route has vastly improved the provision for pedestrians, expanding the space available to the public as well as significantly improving the public realm and green space seen along the route.
It’s also a positive step in the right direction in terms of the city’s City Centre Transport Strategy, which aims for 90% of journeys to the city centre to be via public transport, walking or cycling by 2040.
Based on a rolling average, analysis of the transport network in Manchester shows that it is 15% above the averages seen before the pandemic similar to data seen in London. This is a remarkable achievement given the gulf in scale between the transport networks in both cities.
In the past year the Council announced a bold and ambitious strategy – the Manchester Active Travel Strategy and Investment Plan – which has set out how the Council plans to improve people’s access to cycling as well as making it easy for people to choose alternative modes of travel.
Meanwhile, the launch of the Greater Manchester Cycle Hire scheme two years ago has seen people clock up more than 500,000 rides and 1.3m kms of cycling journeys, with usage high every day.
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment and Transport for Manchester City Council said: “The record-breaking weeks we have seen on the Oxford Road cycleway are wonderful to see. We have always said that infrastructure is the key to unlocking the potential our city has when it comes to walking and cycling.
“It’s very encouraging to see the sheer number of people using this cycleway, figures we hope to see replicated across our transport network as new cycleways are brought into use, and barriers which prevent people from walking or cycling are broken down.”
Dame Sarah Storey, Active Travel Commissioner, added: “The Oxford Road scheme has created a well-connected and enhanced space not just for cycling but for walking and wheeling too, with safer crossing points, more greenery, better bus stops and places for people to sit.
“These record-breaking numbers show that if you build high-quality, safe active travel infrastructure, people will use it or, to put it simply, it works.
“Creating longer, well-connected active travels routes is a key recommendation of my Refreshed Active Travel Mission and I look forward to other new key corridors, such as the Chorlton Cycleway, opening soon and delivering similar impacts for people in Manchester.”
Greater Manchester is developing the UK’s largest cycling and walking network as part of The Bee Network – connecting every area and community in Greater Manchester with 1,800 miles of safe routes and 2,400 new crossings.
In addition, Transport for Greater Manchester supports hundreds of community-based initiatives to help people become more active through cycling, walking and wheeling, such as bike libraries and Cycle and Stride for Active Lives groups.