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Smooth Rides: British Cycling Members Reveal Cities With The Best Road Surfaces - Part Two

March 24, 2020

Smooth Rides: British Cycling Members Reveal Cities With The Best Road Surfaces - Part Two

We are excited to release the second part in our series of British Cycling member insights articles. This time, we'll be taking a look at the state of cycling in Manchester.

If you haven't yet read the first part of the series, then click here to find out the top 5 cities with the best road surfaces in the UK.

See.Sense lights react to your environment on the road, keeping you extra visible at times you need to be seen. And when connected to our app, the lights also detect where you swerve, hit the brakes suddenly, and ride over uneven or bad road surfaces. Thank you to the British Cycling members who are staying visible and connected with our lights to make this series possible.

In this piece, we are going to into some more detail about the 'second-best' city in the UK with the smoothest road surfaces, which was indeed Manchester - the home of British Cycling. So, is Manchester set to become the next big cycling city? Keep reading to learn lots more about the findings from See.Sense data taken from British Cycling members who are using our lights in the city of Manchester. 

Remember, all British Cycling members get 30% off See.Sense lights. Log into your members area for access.

MANCHESTER, THE NEXT CYCLING CITY?

We know that over the past 5 years Manchester has been investing in plans to make the area more bike-friendly for everyone. And with amazing campaigners like Chris Boardman championing cycling, we know a lot of improvements have been made to help get more people on their bikes and improve infrastructure for cycling in the city. But what do the insights from See.Sense and British Cycling members actually show from the roads? 

ROAD ROUGHNESS IN MANCHESTER

Using the patented sensor technology within our lights, we are able to map levels of road roughness across Manchester. With road surface conditions being one of the top contributory factors towards collisions, as well as massively affecting the comfort of the cyclist's ride, this improved understanding will greatly help with planning for cycle infrastructure investment.

SSRI Index: 64% of journeys on PCI greater than 85

SSRI Reminder: In our first blog we explained the SSRI (See.Sense Roughness Index) scale. This is how we can identify the road roughness experienced by a cyclist. Scores of 85-100 are considered a good or 'smooth' rating. Manchester came in second with 64% of journeys with a PCI greater than 85. So a strong score, but there is still work to do...

CYCLING IN MANCHESTER

We know that road surface is the second biggest hazard that British Cycling members face, but other factors such as infrastructure, speed and route popularity come into it massively when we are looking at where people cycle in a city. More detail to follow...

ROUTE POPULARITY & CYCLING SPEEDS

The above graphic shows that Oxford Road corridor (and the cycleway) proved the most popular route in the city. If you are familiar with Manchester then this might make sense to you - given the number of workplaces, universities, bars and restaurants (and how well connected the area is too). 

Oxford Road Corridor

The Oxford Road Corridor cycle lanes were built over a distance of 3 miles along the Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road corridor. The scheme is on both sides of the road, and is a mix of mostly segregated lanes and shared lanes (Gov.uk). See.Sense insights can help us understand how cyclists are travelling across the city, from identifying popular routes to seeing in-depth junction analysis, in order to design optimal cycling networks. It is also useful to help understand how cyclists are using popular cycleways like this one once they are built.

Mapping Average Speeds

The above graphic shows that higher speeds can be seen on the outskirts of the city centre (dark green) with lower speeds, for the most part, experienced in the inner city (light green). 

THE IMPORTANCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE IN MANCHESTER

We were also able to measure the impact of cycling infrastructure in Manchester. The image on the left side (above) shows a section of street without cycling infrastructure with yellow lines representing cyclists moving north and blue lines showing cyclists moving south. The image on the right shows the direction of travel along Oxford Road which has detected cycling infrastructure.

Not only is there far greater delineation between the direction of travel but the efficiency of moving cyclists with dedicated infrastructure is highlighted with the higher average speed resulting from greater confidence. These observations may seem obvious but this type of information has never been quantified before in Manchester and has the potential to help decision makers allocate resources for future funding.

 

SUMMARY

We hope you enjoyed learning more about cycling insights in Manchester and we would love to see more improvements being made! We are currently exploring next steps with Manchester City Council (who we have worked with on previous projects including Synchronicity, CityVerve and BT before) using our ride insights to make cycling better in the city.

Again if you haven't read part one in the series then you can check it out here. Another huge thank you to the British Cycling members who have provided these cycling insights and have made this series possible.

Until the next one... stay safe!

Cycling during COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS 

Follow the UK Government and British Cycling guidelines for safe cycling at this time. Follow the link below for British Cycling's FAQs page:

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/about/article/20200319-about-bc-news-Coronavirus-Covid-19-FAQs-0


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