Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Another record-breaking year for cycling

'Munkanap' means weekdays, 'Pihenő nap' indicates weekends. The fact that weekday traffic invariably exceeds weekend traffic shows that, at least on this street, bikes are used for practical transport more than leisure.
With the close of 2013, cyclists can take courage from a record-breaking year on the kiskörút: According to the automatic counter in front of the National Museum, 583,594 cyclists passed by in the northbound lane of this main downtown artery in 2013 -- an all-time high. The other side has no counter, but if we assume similar traffic flow, there were more than a million bike trips on the kiskörút last year.

The high count is no abberation: Since the counter was installed in 2010, shortly after bike lanes were painted on both sides of the street, cycling levels have climbed year by year. The 2013 result represents a three-fold increase from 2010!

It's difficult getting a simple measurement of cycling levels in Budapest. A 2009 Europe-wide Gallup poll, based on a household survey of travel habits, showed that among Budapest residents, fewer than 2 percent used a bicycle as their main mode of transport. A more recent Hungarian travel survey -- which I can't find now -- indicated a similarly unimpressive level of cycling in Budapest.

It can be assumed, though, that in the downtown core cycling levels are much higher than the overall city level. This is obvious to anyone who uses  the roads, but no survey's been done to isolate that number. The data from the kiskörút is the closest thing available -- a good indicator of what's happening all over central Budapest. It proves what we all feel in our bones: cycling here's been growing by leaps and bounds.

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