Urban Velo

Separate Bike Lanes Increase Ridership In Sydney 82%

Posted on by in Advocacy with 2 Comments

Treehugger just posted about recent cycling initiative in Sydney that have increased ridership 82% in two years time. Common sense measures from many cyclists perspectives, from a ridership and advocacy perspective it is amazing progress that I’d love to see happen on my watch.

The Guardian explains:

…Sydney is working to provide 200km of cycle lanes by 2030, with 55km separated from traffic. Although Campbell admits that segregated cycle lanes are not ideal, with the risk of producing a “them and us” mentality, they have been successful in persuading previous non-cyclists to get out on their bikes. Research done by the council has shown that the likelihood of a resident commuting by bike increases exponentially with the proportion of their commuting trip made possible on a separated bike lane.

The new lanes have been combined with decreased speed limits and extensive junction redesigns which give cyclists priority and improve visibility. One advantage of the new junctions is that there has been a decreased number of accidents involving all modes of transport, not just bikes.

They have run safe cycling courses, given out cycling maps and encouraged “gracious” cycling, providing free bike bells for stretches of shared use pathways. Efforts have been made to keep the local community on board by making the new facilities attractive.

All these measures have combined to produce rapid growth in cycling over two years, with numbers up by an average of 82% across all areas of the city.

Read more at Treehugger and The Guardian.

2 Comments

  1. Mary Jo PollakJune 30, 2012 at 8:04 am

    Remembering back to when I started biking in the city, I would have killed for separated bike lanes. They would give added confidence to tentative new cyclists. Being an experienced cyclist now I would find they box me in. It is hard enough sometimes when you get trapped behind a group of slow recreational cyclists who want to travel side by side – but at least you have the chance to get around them (even if some automobilists think bikers have to stay within the painted lines). I think painted lines are mostly effective and cheaper. I would rather have a large network of painted bike lanes, than a couple of kilometres of separate bike lanes.

  2. Carl FarnsworthJuly 1, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Being a native of Sydney, I’d like to play devils advocate for this article.

    Yes, there’s a large amount of new cycle lanes available in Sydney, and on the face of it, it would seem great, but unfortunately it isn’t. Drivers (from my experience) now come across as more aggressive towards cyclists because they feel that now that there’s bike lanes, cyclists have “no excuse to use the road – if they’re got bike lanes now, use them!”. Plus, with the new lanes, there’s separate, and then there’s separate. Bike lanes that are 18 inches wide, running right along parked cars, are classed as separate, while putting you in even more danger because now drivers have an “excuse” for not giving you room as they pass, and people in parked cars can open a door and collect a cyclist.

    The worst though, is Centennial Park. It’s a large park with a ring road running around it, and it’s ALWAYS full of cyclists and cars. The only problem is, no one knows how to stay in their lane, and cars have to turn across cyclists to get off the ring road. This infuriates the cyclists are are hit (or almost hit), and the guys that ride in the car lane at more than 40km/h doing their time trial/triathlon training annoy the cars because instead of being two or three riders wide, the entire road is taken up with sometimes 6 riders wide. Combine that with massive amounts of pedestrians who will walk out in front of cars and bikes, and it’s a whirlwind of crazy.

    I’d be happier with more education for ALL road users, rather than extra bike lanes. We all can coexist on the road, but we just need patience and understanding.

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