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Cycleway surpasses one-million milestone

More than one million cycle journeys have been made on the Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road Cycleway in Manchester since recording began in September last year.

More than one million cycle journeys have been made on the Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road Cycleway in Manchester since recording began in September last year.

The significant milestone was reached this week, just over one month after the digital ‘totem pole’ cycle counters outside Manchester Royal Infirmary on Oxford Road recorded 5,000 two-way cycle journeys on a single day for the first time.

With cycle lanes from Fallowfield to Oxford Street in Manchester city centre physically separated from the main carriageway by kerbing, the route is Greater Manchester’s best example of a ‘segregated’ cycleway.

Encouraging more people to get on a bike is one of the key ways in which Greater Manchester can tackle air pollution and climate change, two of the most important challenges facing the region.

And the great news is that one million cycle journeys along Oxford Road equate to around 621,000 car journeys, accounting for a potential reduction of 1.9 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide – one of the most harmful air pollutants – and 873.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The cycle journeys could also collectively burn off the equivalent calories from eating 1.92m digestive biscuits or 760,000 bags of crisps, helping people get fitter and healthier.

Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said: “I’m not surprised that the Wilmslow Road and Oxford Road cycleway has been a huge success.

“It proves that, if you build high-quality cycle lanes that are separated from other traffic, people will use them.

“It may sound strange, but bike lanes aren’t for cyclists – they’re for motorists. They’re the people we need to get to change if we’re to make a major shift in the way we travel around our towns and cities.

“More than 30% of journeys in Greater Manchester under 1km are made by car, so the potential here is absolutely enormous. One million cycle journeys counted on Oxford Road in 14 months is a fantastic figure, and I hope we reach the second million in even quicker time.”

Manchester City Council's Executive Member for the Environment and Skills, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “The Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road Cycleway has helped to encourage many more Mancunians to get on their bikes and we're heartened by the evident success of this scheme.

“Investing in high-quality infrastructure of this kind is just one of the ways in which we're helping to promote cycling in Manchester and, while there's more work to be done, passing the milestone of one million cycle journeys in just over a year is an impressive start. We are determined to build on this success.”

The counters, which are the first of their kind in Greater Manchester, were unveiled on both sides of Oxford Road last year as part of Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TfGM’s) Cycle City programme in partnership with Manchester City Council, funded by the Department for Transport.

They allow people to see the number of bikes that have passed the counter that day along with an annual cumulative count.
Sensors embedded in the cycle lane and along the main road detect passing bikes, which are then added to the count.

The data from the digital display counters on Oxford Road can be checked on the Eco Counters website, where it can be compared to other cities with similar counters across the world.

Automatic cycle counters, without roadside displays, have also been installed on a number of the new and improved Greater Manchester cycleways to help measure how popular the routes are and give useful evidence for future plans to expand the cycleways network.

To find out more about the Cycle City Ambition programme, visit the cycling pages of the TfGM website at