The NSW Government’s failure to adequately address the needs of the bicycling public has come home to roost says Bicycle NSW after a new study found the proportion of people cycling in NSW lags significantly behind every other state and territory.
The 2011 National Cycling Participation Survey released today found nearly 9 million people are cycling in Australia – many more than previously thought. In NSW, over 2.7 million people get on a bike each year but the frequency of riding is much lower compared to the other states. Omar Khalifa, CEO of Bicycle NSW, says whilst there have been notable improvements in cycling infrastructure in some areas, the NSW Government and local councils need to commit to a “step-change improvement” in providing better cycling infrastructure and facilities across the state to make cycling an easier choice for more people. The City of Sydney and Lord Mayor Clover Moore is showing true leadership in addressing the necessary transformation.
“It is disappointing that our use of cycling for transport is nearly half of that of other states and territories. Even Tasmania, with the additional challenges of more extreme weather and terrain nearly doubles the NSW cycling rate. We have a lot of catching up to do.” “What we’re lacking in NSW is a properly funded state-wide effort to integrate cycling as a mainstream mode of travel. We clearly need improved on and off road cycle lanes, increased facilities for those who could bicycle to work, school, university or shops and we need toaddress the development of rail trails in regional areas. We already know the benefits can be reduced traffic, better health, lower emissions and more regional development and tourism opportunities for the people of NSW,” said Khalifa.
Despite the proportion rate, in absolute numbers, NSW still has the largest total number of people who bicycle in the nation. The study found that across most states and territories, cycling was much more popular in regional areas than urban areas – especially among young people. Overall, nearly 70% of all 5-9 year olds ride a bike weekly.
To view the report, go to: http://www.cyclingresourcecentre.org.au/post/national_cycling_participation_survey