In a week where a few people were noisily skeptical about cycleways, it was exciting to get our hands on the November automatic bike trip data. We knew the city centre counts would most likely be up a bit: new connections (notably Nelson St through to Fanshawe/ Market Place), fantastic weather, a big old festival, and that grab-and-go bikeshare experiment.

We knew there’d be a bump – but we didn’t quite expect a spike like this! Can we call it the Mike spike, or the Hosking curve? Or as one wag on Twitter suggested, it looks like a classic ‘hockey stick’ graph… a hosking stick?

The Mike spike on Quay St.
The Quay St Cycleway totem counter at a glance, since it opened in July 2016. The red lines are days with 1000+ bike trips. (Click to enlarge)
This is the cycleway that goes past the ZB building. Looks like the new connection to the waterfront started working even before it was officially turned on!
And this is Lightpath – now officially open for two years; the novelty effect of the first few months has settled into a regular pattern, but again with the sudden spike upwards.
Auckland’s busiest bike route, always reliable – and watch it go. Is this the OnzO effect, the weather, or what?
The Northwestern Cycleway continues to draw people – and with Nelson St connected to the waterfront, expect this to grow at an even faster rate.
Take a bow, Bike Te Atatu.

As always, the numbers are up on the popular connected routes that are going somewhere: Tamaki Drive took a giant leap; Quay St is monumentally up, and the Northwestern Cycleway continues in leaps and bounds. The city centre cordon, a collection of counters that tracks trips into and out of the CBD shows bikes are an increasing share of the picture:

The city centre cordon, a collection of bike counters tracking trips into and out of the CBD. Note the spike!

Even Lake Rd, still waiting for a proper paint job, is delivering more and more people on bikes to ferries and to work and school.

Lake Rd, one of the city’s oldest bike lanes, is booming – even though it needs a solid upgrade.

And look at the Waterview path network effect on SH20 (even with a detour for the exit lane widening at Maioro Rd):

Someone’s turned on the tap on SH20 – spot the Waterview (Path) connection!

Meanwhile, many of the peripheral and recreational routes (or those that languish, waiting for improvement) stayed relatively flat. It’s not rocket science.

Great South Road: a great direct route, but hostile for bikes.

We can’t say it often enough: if you build it (improve it, connect it, make it work), they will come.

And these are just the routes that are officially counted. Anecdotally, we’re hearing of more and more biking on the neighbourhood level, and more variety. Cargo bikes, three-wheelers, more ‘quaxing’ to the shops, high schoolers using OnzOs. Are you noticing the same?

While we wait for tangible infrastructure (suburban cycleways on the ‘high street’ will be Auckland’s next big leap) and crucial legislative fixes like slower speed zones, give-way priority for people walking and biking across side-streets, and legalised footpath cycling for kids, etc – this is a vote of confidence from ordinary Aucklanders.

We want to ride. There’s a bike boom afoot. It’s happening. It’s normal. Our city needs to catch up with its citizens.

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3 responses to “Bikes, what bikes? These bikes!

  1. I am glad the data backs up what I have noticed on the ground. The spring surge on the north western has been huge this year. When I first started riding the north western 10 years ago, I would count the days when I encountered other cyclists. About five years ago numbers had increased so I counted days when I didn’t encounter other cyclists. Now I don’t bother as everyday I encounter dozens of cyclists.

  2. So thousands of people are being stopped from riding their bikes because AT and NZTA have not been able to provide safe cycling infrastructure for them. Once it’s in place and helped by a bit of fine weather, people are making the most of what’s been provided.
    Must be very disappointing for Mike Hosking to have facts disproving his personal prejudices on the utility of cycleways. Maybe after a while this makes life gets uncomfortable and resigning becomes a good option. Hopefully his replacement has a progressive, urban outlook.

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