Strava data demonstrates the need for the Cycleway

Strava is a website and mobile app used to track athletic activity with a particular focus on cycling. Cyclists can make use of various GPS devices (including their smart phones) to track their cycle routes with additional information calculated such as average speed, etc.

The routes recorded by users are uploaded to Strava’s website and are used to compare times for particular routes with other athletes. The app is used by serious athletes and by commuting and leisure cyclists.

With the data available on the Strava website, it is possible to aggregate the routes to explore the most commonly used routes in a particular area. This information has been made freely available here.  Lines are drawn to show the number of journeys on each route with red showing the most heavily used roads with blue showing less used routes (zoom in to see detail). The intensity of the red colour gives an indication of the number of cyclists with the most red being the most heavily used routes.

The 2017 release of data (restricted to include cyclists only) has been used to create the map showing how cyclists along the Derwent Valley are forced to use the A6 between Belper and Derby due to the lack of suitable alternatives.It is obvious that north south cycling journeys need to use the A6 with occasional usage of routes such as Duffield Bank/Eaton Bank (which are also unsuitable routes due to their narrowness).

In comparison, the second map shows the excellent Riverside path from Derby past Pride Park to Raynesway and the A6 south of Derby. It can be seen that, with the provision of a suitable route for cyclists, a large amount of the cycle traffic that previously used the road (e.g. A6) can be transferred to the traffic free route (e.g. Riverside path).

It is clear that the provision of a route of similar quality to the Riverside path north of Derby would allow for most of the cycle traffic on the A6 to migrate to the new, much more suitable traffic free route (i.e. the proposed Derwent Valley Cycleway).

Whilst the results are compelling, the actual requirement for the Derwent Valley Cycleway is probably even more clear as the Strava data only includes information on trips actually taken by cyclists using the Strava app.  Therefore, no data is collected on cyclists who would have wished to undertake a particular trip by bike but were prevented from doing so by, for instance, the level of traffic on the available routes.

The Strava app tends to be used by more frequent and sporting cyclists so those cyclists making occasional leisure trips may not be represented in the data. Including these riders would further strengthen the message.

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