Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Barcelona bicycle numbers

In the website of the Barcelona City Council for mobility you can find  the full report of Barcelona basic data of mobility for 2010 (pdf, in Catalan). There is also a brief report for 2011, but the last complete one is for 2010. The report contains very interesting bicycle data.

2009 2010 09/10 (%)
Bicycle transport share 2,07% 1,99% -3,9
Bicycle trips 102.824 106.520 3,6
Bike lanes/path km 146,8 159 8,3
% of streets with bicycle lanes/paths -- 12,10% --
Bicycles using the bike lanes/paths -- 42,10% --
Bicycle parking 20.402 21.387 4,8
Registered users of "Bicing" 182.062 117.523 -35,4
Daily average users of "Bicing" 33.415 34.585 3,5
Number of "Bicing" trips 10.769.256 11.147.000 3,5
Public cost by "Bicing" trip (EUR) 1.3 1.26 --
Public cost by bus/metro trip  (EUR) -- 1.24 --
"Bicing" share in total bicycle use -- 28,70% --
Bicycle accidents 513 414 -19,3

The report includes an interesting map of bicycle traffic density in Barcelona.

Intensitat de trànsit de bici a Barcelona (any 2010)

Bicycle in Barcelona: A (ridiculous) share of 2%

As I mentioned in a previous post, Barcelona is in third position in the Copenhagenize Index (?). The question is if a city with a 2% of share could be in that position, taking into account that many European cities have much higher numbers:  +30% in Ferrara (Italy), +30% in most Dutch / Danish cities and +40% in Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

To get an idea of what represents a 2% in Barcelona itself, this is more or less the same people who use a taxi (2.8%), a van / truck (2.7%), people who accompany someone else in a car (2.5%), who use the Catalan Railway Company (1.9%), or the discretionary bus (1.7%). In contrast, 11.9% use the bus, 14.8% the metro, 6.2% the motorcycle, 9.5% the car, and 45.5% go on foot. Bicycle is very far from the figures of that second group, which includes the main transportation means used by people.

12.1% of city streets with bike lanes

Roughly only 1 of every 10 streets in Barcelona has a bike path/lane (I'm very generous calling them "path/lane"). The report of the Barcelona City Council gives another figure, but I’m not sure I understand it really. It says that 28% of the total road network is for bicycles. I guess that includes 30 km/h areas, areas in which it has not been proven at all that there has been an increase in the use of the bike. Indeed, last information about 30 km/h areas is that there has been an increase of accidents.

Bicycle stands, considerable number but insufficient

In Barcelona city you can be sure about at least one thing: if you don’t secure professionally your bike, it will be stolen in just a few hours. So 21,000 bicycle stands is a very low number in a city of 1.5 million people. And if you want to increase the use of the bike, you need MANY MORE bicyle stands.

Bike lanes that are not used 

It is very worrying that only 42% of the bicycles uses bike lanes. This means that 58% use mainly the sidewalk. You can consider that Barcelona is a Mediterranean city; ok. The result is that in Barcelona there is a public debate about bicycles in sidewalks, with most people claiming to put an end to bicycle use (bicycle is good to do exercise in the wekeends, you know). This true conflict was generated by the incorrect City Council lanes design.

My opinion about the reasons why people do not use the bike lanes are basically two:

- Lack of control of the discipline of bicycle users.

- A completely inadequate design of many of the city's bike lanes.

Is Bicing (Barcelona’s bike share program) killing bicycle use?

We have a problem with Bicing. Bicing lost 35% of its subscribers between 2009 and 2010. That means 2 million EUR less, an amount that has to be paid by the City Council instead. Considering the number of Bicing trips, that means that the City Council pays 1.26 EUR for every Bicing trip. You must consider that the City Council pays 1.24 EUR for every metro/bus trip. In terms of users, Bicing is more expensive for the City Council that bus or metro services! And Bicing is, indeed, overwhelmed. It’s not a question of more users paying and using the service.

In addition, while the City Council is investing 14 million euros each year in the Bicing service, it only invests 1 million/year in bicycle lanes/paths. The Bicing share in total bicycle use in the city is only 28%. I think it has to be more proportional: the investment in bicycle lanes/paths benefits all bicycle users, whereas investment in Bicing benefits only a minor part.

To increase bicycle use you need to invest in infrastructure. If your investment in bicyvle promoting goes only to Bicing, you are avoiding an increase of general bicycle use.

Have a nice Barcelona. And remember, don't buy any Mexican hat here as a souvenir. We are Catalans, not Mexicans ;-)