Friday, 5 June 2009

What is going on?

Some of these numbers are a bit old, but they are the latest I can find. CTC reports record membership, Sustrans reports more users of the National Cycle Network, there is more cycling in London, many local authorities have a goal to encourage cycling, and cycling accidents are up.

And yet the Department for Transport last reported that the number of miles travelled on bikes is going down.

I know there is widespread cynicism about official statistics, but my own experience is that they are normally pretty robust. I can't help feeling, though. that there is something wrong here.

It's hardly a representative sample, but my impression is that the number of bikes on the roads is going up. So my inclination is to think that there must be something wrong with the way the Department for Transport carry out the survey that underpins their figures on the number of miles cycled in the UK each year.

For comparison, I've been looking for robust local government data from outside London, without success. Am I missing something? Has anyone already challenged the DfT figures?


townmouse said...

Is it something to do with the fact that they're measuring travel on the roads? Depending on how they define 'on the road', with more off-road provision, the distance travelled by cyclists might go down even while numbers are up

Shaun McDonald said...

Alternatively there has been a decrease in the cycling else where in the UK.