Bike riding booms around Sydney’s new cycleways

Sydney’s new bicycle network is experiencing a boom, with a 60 per cent increase in bike trips in the morning period, Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP said today.

The most recent bike count released today shows a 60 per cent average increase in the AM period and an average 48 per cent increase during the PM period over the past year.*

“Cyclists are voting with their feet – more and more of them are using our cycleways as we build them and join up the links,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“The figures confirm that most riders use our cycleways to commute to and from work, so during peak hours in the morning and evening they are used heavily. Congestion on our roads is heaviest across the state during peak hours so the more people who ride during those times, the bigger the impact on reducing traffic and congestion.

“Critics who complain about the cycleway network need to realise that we need to build it in stages, and that the stages then need to be linked. It’s a bit like building a bridge and getting halfway through and then wondering why no one is using it yet. This is about the future and building a viable network that will become a normal part of city life in the years ahead.

“We worked closely with relevant authorities, the local community and cycling groups in planning the routes and have so far managed to build them without taking out any lanes of traffic.”

Bike count figures at key intersections include:

-          King Street /Kent Street intersection where bike rider numbers have more than doubled from 228 in March 2010 to 771 in March 2011 in the PM period, or a 238 per cent increase;

-          College Street/Oxford Street intersection, where bike rider numbers have risen from 278 to 862 in the PM period, or a 210 per cent increase.

-          Bourke Road/Gardeners Road (Alexandria), where bike rider numbers have risen from 51 to 178 in the AM period, or a 249 per cent increase.

-          Bourke Street/Phelps Street (Surry Hills), where bike rider numbers have risen from 99 to 262 in the PM period, or a 165 per cent increase.

Ten kilometres of separated cycleways have been built in inner Sydney so far – and no traffic lanes have been lost in their construction.

Kirribilli resident, 71 year old Les Baker, is a huge fan of the bicycle network and often rides with his wife Judy to the fish markets in Pyrmont.  He said: “Judy and I are using the bike paths around Sydney more and more. It’s safer and more enjoyable getting around. They are also great for getting visitors on our spare bikes so they can see the best of Sydney.”

Kids from Crown Street and Bourke Street Public Schools use the Bourke Street cycleway to ride safely to school.

Businesses are also benefitting from increased bike traffic on inner Sydney routes. 

Jeremy Havlin, co-owner of Remy & Lees café on Bourke Street, Surry Hills said: “There is a definite increase in the number of bike riders in the area.  It’s great to see whole families out and about on the weekend on their bicycles.”

With the increase in bike riding across inner Sydney, the City of Sydney is also ramping up its education program to ensure everyone has a safe and pleasant journey on the roads, cycleways and shared paths.

Staff are stationed at key shared paths in the City talking to educate people about bike safety. Honker horns and reflectors are being offered for good behaviour, and Bikewise mechanics offer free and speedy bike checks.

The City also offers free cycling confidence and bike maintenance courses. More than 400 people have learned how to ride safely in Sydney traffic over the past year and 71 per cent of surveyed participants say they now ride more often.

Before the course only 2 per cent rode “most or all days”. After completing the confidence building course, 30 per cent of participants reported cycling most days – up from just two per cent beforehand.

More than two thirds of those taking the courses are women and most are aged between 25 and 44.

One participant, Chloe Evans, said: “Shortly after buying my first bike, I did the City of Sydney confidence course and it was brilliant – it really boosted my road confidence. I ride so that motorists can see me, by being predictable, sticking to the road rules and making clear signals.

Pedestrians and bike riders have been using the city’s shared paths in parks and on footpaths for many years with few problems.  Council is stepping up its educational program due to the cycling boom and increase in shared paths.

In the past six months, more than 65,000 cycling maps with safety information have been also distributed.

Media Contacts:

For interviews with the Lord Mayor contact Shehana Teixeira on (02) 9265 9400 or steixeira@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

City of Sydney: Maya Catsanis 02 9265 9553, 0409 045 425.

www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/cycling

*Bi-annual cycle counts are conducted at 100 intersections across the Local Government Area by an independent company.

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