Cycle hires hit a record monthly high

Santander bike Chris Warham shutterstock_307029647-2

Photo: Chris Warham | Shutterstock

July 2016 was the most successful month for Santander Cycle hire since the bike-sharing scheme was first introduced in 2010.

A record 1.18 million bikes were hired across London last month, an average of 38,000 hires a for each day of the month.  The data from Transport for London shows that on three days, 19th, 30th and 31st of July there were more than 46,000 hires. The average hire time was 23 minutes.

The monthly total beats the previous record for July 2014 by 5,200.  Summer months always prove the most popular times and monthly hires were also over one million in May and just under in June.  The number of hires in January and February this year was around half the July total.

The city bike scheme was introduced on 30th July 2010. In the first two days 12,000 bikes were hired and in the first month 340,000 as the scheme was rolled out across the boroughs and the docking stations became a familiar sight on the streets.

The data shows that the most popular day in the scheme’s six-year existence was 9th July last year when 73,000 bikes were hired.  On the 6th August that year the second highest total was recorded of 64,000.

Mainline stations are the popular hire points, as previously reported by Urbs, as commuters arriving from outside London and make their way to work in the morning and afternoon rush hours.

But the hire data at major landmarks and parks also suggests that tourists may be the biggest users of the bikes, with routes across Hyde Park among the most popular. The data shows that weekends see the largest usage and the most popular weekday for hire is a Thursday.

The bike sharing scheme was introduced by Boris Johnson when he was Mayor and the bicycles  became known as Boris bikes despite a sponsorship deal with Barclays.  Santander took over sponsorship of the scheme last year, but the bikes have not gone on to be re-named Sadiq cycles.

Source data

See also

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

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Do fewer offences mean better bike behaviour or laxer policing?

Brompton bikeThe number of recorded traffic offences by cyclists on London’s roads fell last year, and on current data looks like it will be down further in 2015.

Cycling has grown dramatically in central London in recent years, by 173% according to the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling, and TfL estimates that 570,000 journeys are taken each day by bike.

Data released by the Metropolitan Police for offences from 2007 to May this year under a Freedom of Information request showed that traffic violations went up quite sharply as that popularity grew.

The most common offences are cycling on a pavement and going through a red light. Both are subject to a fixed penalty notice fine of £50.

The number of fixed penalty notices handed out rose steadily until 2010 and then began to decline. 2013 stands out and the high number may be the result of a massive road safety campaign, Operation Safeway, at the end of that year. Designed with cycle safety it mind it ended up giving out more than 4,000 notices to cyclists in around 8 weeks.

cycle offences

In 2014 Fixed Penalty Notices went back to 2012 levels, and up unitl May 18th this year just 1,300 have been given out, 370 for cycling on the pavement and 946 for going through a red light.

The data also reveals that cycling while drunk or under the influence of drugs remains a rare charge. Riding a bike while drunk is an offence under the Road Traffic Act, but the more commonly used law is the 1872 Drunk in Charge of a Carriage. For legal purposes a bicycle qualifies as a carriage.

cycle drunk

Prosecutions peaked in 2010 with 22 but fell back to 8 last year. Up to May 18th this year 7 people had been charged

The number of offences is driven by two things, levels of police enforcement and how well cyclists are observing the law. This data doesn’t tell us which of these or what combination is affecting the numbers.

Source data

See also

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Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

Where 22,000 cars were stolen in the capital last year

dreamstime_s_27170312Wandsworth is the car crime capital coming top of the list of the 32 boroughs where a total of 22,000 cars were stolen last year.  Wandsworth wins the accolade only narrowly as car theft is spread quite evenly across the city and only 5 boroughs have fewer than 500 cars stolen. In comparison, cycle theft is far more focused on central areas, perhaps reflecting  a higher number of inner city cyclists and where commuters leave their bikes for the day.

Data from the Metropolitan Police for the 12 months to March 2015 shows that car theft went up by 8% on the previous 12 months. 1,052 cars were taken in Wandsworth, and Newham was just 5 cars behind. But, as our map shows, the pattern of theft was quite evenly spread with a few more dark areas in the east than west.

Car theft

Lowest levels were in the south west but the safest place to park a car was Harrow, with just 195 taken in the period.

Bike theft is focused on the centre of the city. 17,300 cycles were stolen in the 12 months to March 2015, a fall of 7%.  Westminster was the most likely place to lose you bike, with 1,296 taken followed by Hackney with 1,282 stolen cycles. These 2 boroughs, plus Camden, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Lambeth form a central ring that accounted for nearly half the cycle thefts.

Bike theft

After these areas the most worrying place to park your bike in a rack were the western boroughs of Wandsworth, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham.

The outlying boroughs of Havering and Bexley saw the lowest bike theft figures.

Source data

See also:

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

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Crime Report: Harrow

Harrow has the lowest crime rate of all the 32 London boroughs. Data from the Metropolitan Police shows that there were 12,300 crimes committed in the year to March 2015, giving the borough a rate of 49 crimes per 1000 residents. This is 40% below the London average of 81.

Every recorded category of crime is below the London average level.

Crime report Harrow

While there were 94 rapes in the borough during the period, that is 36% below the wider city average.

Some crime categories were extremely low. There were 130 cycle thefts, for example, which is a quarter of the London-wide levels.

There were 2 murders in Harrow during the period.

Source data

More crime reports

Crime Report: Hammersmith and Fulham

The crime rate in Hammersmith and Fulham is 37% above the London average. Rates are higher in all major categories apart from burglary.

The Metropolitan Police recorded 20,200 crimes in the 12 months to the end of March 2015, which means a rate of 111 crimes per 1000 people. The London average is 81.

Crime report Hammersmith and Fulham

Drug offences were 85% above the London average. Theft, assault and sexual offences were also much higher. Sexual offences included 125 rapes, 18% above city levels.

Theft from motor vehicles was particularly prevalent, 75% above the London average, and there were 748 cycle thefts, which is 106% above the average.

Hammersmith and Fulham recorded 2 murders during the 12 months.

Source data

More crime reports

Crime Report: Hackney

Hackney has a high level of crime with theft, robbery, assault and sexual offences all well above the average for London.

Data from the Metropolitan Police reveals that there were 25,600 crimes in the 12-months ending March 2015. That translates as 97 crimes per 1000 people in the borough. The average for London is 81.

Crime report Hackney

Within the major crime categories there are some wide variations. Burglary from households was 7% below the London average but burglary from other buildings was 45% higher. Within theft, shoplifting is 44% below the London average but there were 591 cases of theft or taking a motor vehicle – that’s 12% above the city level.

Drug offences generally are below average but there were 29% more cases of trafficking drugs than the London average.

Cycle theft is also a problem. 1,282 bikes were stolen in the period. That is 142% higher than average for London.

5 of London’s 92 murders were committed in Hackney.

Source data

More crime reports

Tourists biggest users of Boris Bikes

Tourists and casual customers not London commuters are the big users of the city’s cycle hire scheme, the so-called Boris Bikes.

Boris bikes

Data analysis by Urbs reveals that in 2014 more journeys began from the bike docks around Hyde Park, one of London’s busiest tourist and leisure spots, than the combined total of journeys from 4 of the capital’s busiest railway stations – Waterloo, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross and Victoria.

In 2014 (figures Jan to Oct) 8.3 million journeys were taken using the bikes. Of those, 749,000 began at the Hyde Park bike racks – Hyde Park Corner, Albert Gate, Black Lion Gate, and Kensington Gate. That compares to 214,000 journeys that started at Liverpool Street and 213,000 at Waterloo.

The data also indicates that many users are taking the bikes for a leisurely ride rather than using them to get to a specific destination. More than half of the journeys that started in Hyde Park also ended there.

The numbers gathered by TfL show that commuters arriving from out of town into the city’s main rail terminals are the biggest users of the bikes in the morning rush hour between 7-9am. In that period the top 5 hire locations are all at the big stations, including 3 racks at Waterloo. And users are pushing the bikes back into the racks in the City. The top 5 dropping off points in the morning rush hour are all in the financial district. The average journey time in this period is 16 minutes.

Later in the day the average journey time goes up to 24 minutes and the focus of activity moves west. Across the day the top 3 busiest locations are around the entrances to Hyde Park.

27,000 journeys are taken each day, on average. Across the year it varies from a January average of 15,000 to the peak in July with a daily rate of 35,000. As might be expected the numbers go down on rainy days, though it seems the commuters are hardier folk than the visitors. Weather data shows that on January 29th 2014 it poured with rain and bike journeys dropped by 30% from 15,000 daily average to 10,000. It also rained heavily on August 25th, at the peak of the London tourist season when many Londoners are away on holiday. The 30,000 daily average plummeted to just 6,000, a fall of 80 per cent.

The cycle hire scheme was introduced on July 30th 2010. The Mayor, Boris Johnson, said at the time that it would transform travel for Londoners and visitors.  The data suggests that the tourists have got the message, and commuters who travel into the city to work are the other significant group of users. But Londoners living outside zone 1, who are helping to subsidise the scheme through their taxes, don’t appear to see the bikes as part of the home to work solution.

There are currently 11,500 bikes and 748 docking stations. The scheme was extended to the west and south west of the city in 2013. But many of the new locations are among the least used, including Clapham, Shepherd’s Bush, and East Putney. The Clapham Common site takes the low usage award with just 469 hires last year – an average of 1.28 per day.

Cycling has grown remarkably in the city in recent years. In 2014 600,000 journeys were taken each day by bicycle. The 27,000 daily Boris Bike journeys make up a fraction of that. For most Londoners getting on your bike means buying your own rather than tackling the miles across the sprawling city on a chunky 23 Kg machine.

Source data:

Cycle hire numbers 

Cycle journeys in London