Not raining on our parade

Oct 15, 2017
Not raining on our parade

Bike Auckland

This winter has been extremely wet in Auckland – but the good news is that this hasn’t had much of an impact on the number of people cycling!

Despite rain levels in Auckland being 150% (!) above normal, the September numbers on the 27 automatic counters around the city were substantially higher than the same month last year.

At 14 regional count sites:

  • 1.764 million cycle trips were recorded for the year of October 2016 to September 2017, an increase of 6.1% on the previous 12 months.
  • 128,665 cycle trips were recorded in September 2017, an increase of 8.0% when compared to September 2016.

At 13 city centre count sites:

  • 1.774 million cycle trips were recorded for the year of October 2016 to September 2017.
  • 128,519 cycle trips were recorded in September 2017, an increase of 3.8% when compared to September 2016.

This is great news overall, and creates hope that this spring’s burst of people coming back to bikes – or indeed, trying them for the first time – will be a really great crop.

So how are the individual count sites looking? Well, thanks to one of our members converting the automatic counter stats (available here) into a very readable format, you can compare them to previous years and speculate on why bike traffic has gone up (and in a few cases, slightly down) on last year.

You can scroll down to browse them all – but first, a few comments about a few interesting ones, and our speculations as to why:

  • East Coast Road – this has been flat for several years, and is seeing a fall. Sadly, the Shore is seeing little cycle investment, and some very anti-cycling local politicians. At some stage, it stops being surprising that the numbers are falling here.
  • Great South Road – not an outlier, but another one that’s been flat for years. Again, little surprise: check out this new blog about how difficult the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ area still is for cycling.
  • Great North Road, Citybound – at first glance this looks like a 100% rise in a year, but is most likely due to the counter being recalibrated. Maybe the previous setting missed some riders due to location or settings? We will inquire.
  • Lake Road – good growth on last year, a welcome counterpoint to East Coast Road. Which makes it even harder to understand the recent bike parking at Devonport fiasco, or see any justification for why some in the Local Board are angling to remove the cycle lanes on Lake Road…
  • Lightpath – it’s finally surpassed the same point in the previous year. Why is this so important? Because as a spectacular new piece of infrastructure, Lightpath enjoyed an initial massive burst of ‘let’s go see it at least once’ – which then dropped off steeply after half a year. Now, with it having become a key part of our urban fabric, it has settled in to steady growth at a baseline of around 12,000 winter cyclists a month. Not shabby at all for something so young still. And the further sections on Nelson Street to the north will drive this even higher.
  • Mangere Safe Routes – not massive growth yet, after only one year. But there is some growth – and hopefully, once the rain stops, the numbers will pick up further!
  • Nelson Street (on road) – steady but not spectacular growth on the road section; this should pick up soon with Stage 2 being almost complete, and Stage 3 to go to construction not long after.
  • NW Cycleway and Tamaki Drive – our two ‘wings’ to the west and the east continue to reliably hit the high scores on account of their extent and reach, as they flow through neighborhoods towards the city, collecting riders along the way. The NW continues to grow year on year (even in the rain!) proving the network effect of the better connections and recent improvements. Just wait till Ian McKinnon Drive shaves off that last hill towards town! And Tamaki Drive is sailing along (even in the rain!) as our busiest bike path, proving the value of the current and upcoming improvements. Can’t wait to see how the Glen Innes to Tamaki Drive path will rocket these numbers even higher.

In the coming months, we’re particularly excited to see how the new Waterview Path‘s numbers are doing (pretty good, it seems), and what this will mean for nearby other counters. Watch this space!


Join us

Bike Auckland is the non-profit organisation working to improve things for people on bikes. We’re a people-powered movement for a better city. We speak up for you – and the more of us there are, the stronger our voice!

Suggest a new ride