The SuisseMobile Foundation has created an 11,000km network of bicycle routes for leisure and tourism called “Cycling in Switzerland” and has also undertaken to measure its popularity through qualitative surveys every five years and a network of automatic counters. As the report notes, “objective baseline data are essential for adequate transport planning and effective transport policy.” As of 2021, the Foundation no longer operates counters itself as it relies on the cantons (local authorities) to directly operate the equipment, but still produces an annual report on ridership.
This observatory has been progressively set up since 2010 to constitute a national database of bicycle traffic counters. The Foundation has recently published the report on bicycle use in 2021.
Cycling in Switzerland: back to normal in 2021 after an exceptional year
The authors of the report note a decrease in bicycle traffic of 6% compared to 2020. This decrease is due (among other things) to a very rainy summer in 2021.
In urban areas, traffic has returned to 2019 levels, while in rural areas, although traffic has also decreased between 2021 and 2020, it is still 20% higher than in 2019.
Using 2010 as a reference year (= base 100), below is the evolution of bicycle traffic in Switzerland, related to an explanatory meteorological indicator, the number of days without rain (source: MétéoSuisse Climate Bulletins, Federal Office of Statistics) :
And while it is still early to measure the sustainability of the growth in bicycle traffic following the upheavals created by the pandemic (with, in particular, this renewed need to take advantage of outdoor activities), in the long term we can see a clear increase in the practice since 2010, reaching almost +60% between 2021 and 2010.
In 2021, 102 counting sites were listed in the national database. 19 counters did not have enough data for 2021 to be included in the report.