Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Bike Count 2013

Ah .. the annual greater hobart commuter bike counts ... every year I make different versions of the same mistake.

I get up (no, that's not the mistake), I think to myself ... "one cup of coffee won't hurt" followed by some variation of  "ah what the heck, best make it a double shot." or "if one won't hurt, nor will two ..." (yes, that's the mistake).

Note: Not the actual cup of coffee.
About fifteen minutes into the bike count, I then start to think "Hmmm ... I could do with getting rid of the coffee about now", then, with very little else to distract me, I spend the next hour doing nothing but think about how good it would be to get rid of that coffee, and inevitably I spend the last 30 minutes of the bike count squirming in the car hating myself and thinking that maybe that coffee cup could do with a refill if you know what I mean.

I know, you'd think at my age I could have figured this stuff out by now, but apparently not.

I counted at the same intersection as last year and was quite excited when I got back to work and compared counts to see my official count increased from 46 to 66 cyclists.  I mean Woo Hoo ... that's a 43% increase, but then I read my own blog from last year and realised that actually 61 cyclists went through my intersection last year ... there were just 15 who went through slightly too early or slightly too late, so that's only a five person increase which is really just a statistical discrepancy.  Boo Hoo.

What I did notice this year was the real variation in bikes.  I think I counted four electric bikes, three folding bikes and one guy who was riding his kids BMX.

Hmmm ... not such a good photo.
The other thing I noticed was that if my little intersection was anything to go by, then commuter cycling in Hobart is going European ... very few cyclists were wearing Lycra, in fact many were dressed smart casual and quite a few were on relaxed commuter bikes.  I think about half of the cyclists who came up the steep hill from Regent Street were just happily pushing their bikes up the hill so as not to break a sweat ... it was very cool.

However, to the depressing part of the count:  For the first hour (7am to 8am) I also counted the number of cars that went through the intersection.  The count was 14 bikes to 736 cars ... I think that makes cycling movements through the intersection just under1% of all vehicle movements.  Sigh.

But the cyclists looked way cooler than the motorists, so I'll think of us as the elite, the trend-setters, rather than just another minority.

PS. I stopped counting cars after 8am simply because regent street became gridlocked after that and it was just impossible to count them.


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