Cycling Revolution in Belfast?

Strava Labs have released a tool to compare the heat maps of 2014 and 2015.

You will all respond saying how unrepresentative it is of utility cycling and the gender imbalance and all that. Also, Strava could have become more popular. All true, but it throws up interesting stuff anyhow.

I’ve looked at central Belfast.

Lagan Developments


Laganside Development

The new bridge at the Lagan Weir is many more times popular than the old bridge, without it affecting cycling levels on the nearby Queen’s and Queen Elizabeth II bridges.

Also noticeable is the detour needed to avoid the works to add the oversized ugly shipping container to the side of the previously iconic Waterfront Hall.

The majority of NCN9 users have chosen not to cross the Lagan at the railway bridge, though there is considerably more cycling traffic between Queen’s Bridge and the railway bridge, than between the latter and the Albert Bridge.

City Centre


Cycling levels have increased across the City Centre. Again, the right side of the picture is 2015.

Especially at Franklin St in the Linen Quarter the number of cyclists has increased. Any attempts to reduce cars travelling through the Linen Quarter should not impede this flow of cyclists. Filtered permeability and allowing two way cycling on one way streets must be considered.

The BBNP path from Grosvenor Road to Bridge End will pass through High Street. Cycling levels there remain well behind those on Chichester St and May St. My main criticism of the BBNP is that it is not where cyclists are. The hope remains that, as with the new Weir Bridge, the new infrastructure will increase cycling overall, without displacing traffic from Chichester St.

Bus Lanes

In the absence of cycleways in the City Centre, bus lanes act as a poor substitute. The implementation of bus lane restrictions was met with loud wailing and gnashing of teeth by car drivers. But not by cyclists.

Donegall Square East and West have become more important for cyclists:

A similar increase is seen in Queen Street. Are bus lanes encouraging more cyclists into the city centre? It appears so: the before and after surveys for BotM show a decreasing number of cars, but more pedestrians and cyclists, with overall visitor numbers increasing.

The Belfast Bikes dock at Donegall Square may well be driving the increase near City Hall, which means people are logging their hire bike journeys on Strava. Surely not?! Was it not an app for MAMILs to boast about their 100 mile rides around the countryside?


Elsewhere in Belfast cycling is growing. Noticeable is Mountpottinger Road in East Belfast:


This gives more encouragement to the idea to close off this road to HGV, but ideally close off the rat run altogether.

Across Belfast more journeys are being recorded by cyclists. Even in the west of the city. This could point to an increase in popularity of Strava, but also to a year on year increase in cycling levels.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s