This blog post by Chris Morahan first appeared in Talking Transport:
I keep seeing comments in various social media circles that no one in Christchurch cycles. It’s always just anecdotal, but even then I don’t understand it. My own anecdotal data source – the bike-shed-O-meter – suggests cycling numbers are going through the roof.
But the good news is we don’t actually have to rely on anecdotal evidence anymore. Christchurch now has a pretty good network of automatic cycle counters. The current counts are available at Smartview.
They also make the historic data available if you know how to do it. It’s quite complicated, but fortunately Joe has done some good work graphing a time series of some of these cycle counts.
You can see that some of the counters have had some malfunctions – for example “eco display towards Antigua” didn’t work through most of December.
I’ve downloaded the data from Joe’s site, tried my best to patch these broken periods, then added up all the sites together, converted to daily flows, and finally smoothed it a little (14-day rolling average). This gives the following total daily bicycle count for the city.
This graph shows that cycling numbers in Christchurch are the highest they’ve been in the last 6 months. Numbers rose with the onset of Spring in September, stayed high through to mid-December, then dropped off over the holiday season. Numbers have been climbing steadily through January to the highest they’ve been in this period.
I’m keen to see if it keeps climbing through February, or if it flattens out. Once we have a full 12 months data it will get really interesting as we’ll be able to take the seasonal aspect out of it. But even this 6 month graph shows some very healthy numbers, which only seem to be getting higher.