Leeds cycle highway milestone is way off the mark - Yorkshire Post letters

Has the Leeds cycle superhighway been effective?
Has the Leeds cycle superhighway been effective?

From: JD Adams, Leeds.

The announcement that a million people have apparently used the Cycle Superhighway in Leeds had me wondering about how that figure is measured. If true, one million cyclists using the route would certainly be an achievement, providing a degree of vindication for the scheme’s backers. But does it pass scrutiny?

I’ve lost count of the number of people claiming the lane often seems under-used or entirely empty, that cyclists avoid it or choose to ride on the road instead, not to mention the reports of poor design and infrastructure. How to square all that negative chatter with the impressive-sounding claim about one million cyclists though?

A quick look at the City Connect website fills in the blanks. It turns out that there are seven automatic cycle counters along the route, each of which records a “trip” when a cyclist rides past.

But since one trip is logged every time a bike crosses any of the counters, surely the total number of trips could include one cyclist being counted up to seven times for what is just a single journey? And that’s one journey in one direction; if the same cyclist made a return leg, they’d be counted up to another seven additional times. Suddenly that one million claim starts to look a tad less impressive.