In the Media
Over the years, BIKESydney has made a point to be present to the media to ensure that the rider’s side of the story gets told. It’s interesting to track the themes, barriers and developments over the years.
[Oct 2014 – We will populate this page with the many more articles we’ve contributed to once we have time. We’d welcome your offer to assist with this.]
BIKESydney rebuffs claim by the South West Sydney Area Health Service that cyclists pose a threat to patients
11 July 2009
Get off your bikes, medics tell cyclists
Paul Bibby, Urban Affairs Reporter
Sydney Morning Herald
THE City of Sydney knew its plan for a cycleway through the inner-west suburbs of Newtown and Camperdown would draw angry letters from residents – even the objections from the Taxi Council and the group representing motorcycle riders were expected.
But it did not anticipate that people with a professional stake in the benefits of exercise might try to stymie the Missenden Road cycleway.
The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital has emerged as the key objector to the plan for a cycle path between King Street, Newtown, and Pyrmont Bridge Road in Camperdown.
In a strongly worded letter to the council, the chief executive of the South West Sydney Area Health Service, Mike Wallace, said that having a cycleway passing the hospital would put staff and patients at risk.
“Many of those visiting the hospital are unwell, sight-impaired, disabled or elderly,” Mr Wallace said.
“The capacity of these people to avoid collision with a cyclist … is seriously impaired. There are regular and many complaints regarding cyclist behaviour in and around the site … so it is inconceivable that their behaviour will be any better on the cycle path.”
If the council insisted on building the path on the eastern side of Missenden Road, he said, it must institute a “no ride zone” for the length of the hospital grounds to oblige cyclists to dismount and walk their bikes.
Cycle groups and the council are at a loss to understand why an institution that deals daily with the consequences of obesity would object to a project that encouraged cycling.
“The irony of it is that the health promotion unit at the hospital has been a very strong supporter of cycleways for years,” the vice-president of Bike Sydney, Andrew Dodds, said. “A couple of weeks ago the latest Sydney cycle map was released and [the health service] was the co-sponsor.”
A health service spokesman said the body was committed to promoting the health benefits of physical activities and would work closely with the council to “find a safe solution for both cyclists and pedestrians”.
But some within the council claim there is another motive behind the hospital’s objection: parking. It is understood the cycleway would take up about 40 prime parking spaces.
BIKESydney rejects Council’s car door lanes
6 July 2005
Why commuters won’t get on their bikes
By Bonnie Malkin, Urban Affairs Reporter
Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney councils are creating bicycle lanes that are more dangerous for cyclists than riding among the city’s buses, taxis and trucks, bicycle groups warn.
And councils are spending thousands of dollars on badly designed cycleways that experienced riders chose to avoid, said the vice-president of the lobby group BIKEast, Adrian Boss.
The most dangerous type of bicycle lane was one shared with parked cars, he said. “When somebody opens a car door, you can’t stay in the [cycle] lane and you have to move into the traffic, where you can get into trouble and be hurt by a car.”
Shared lanes have been created in Surry Hills, Redfern and Liverpool, he said.
Forty per cent of all cyclist injuries in the CBD, and 17 per cent in Sydney as a whole, are caused by car doors being opened, Austroads figures show.
Over the next two years, Woollahra Council will spend $250,000 on bicycle facilities, including a lane to be shared with buses. Randwick Council will spend $180,000 on a new bicycle plan, part of it on shared parking and bicycle lanes in Kensington.
The City of Sydney will spend $14.1 million on bicycle networks over the next four years and says it will provide dedicated cycle lanes where possible.
A spokeswoman for Randwick Council, Louisa Simeonidis, said shared zones were safe on residential streets, according to guidelines from the Roads and Traffic Authority.
Fiona Campbell, a cyclist and member of Bike Sydney, is not convinced.
Ms Campbell cycles from her home in Marrickville to work in Martin Place each weekday but will not ride in the bicycle lane, preferring to take her chances among the traffic.
“Even if there is a bike lane, I ride in the middle of the car lane because I believe a bike lane marks out the most dangerous part of the road for cyclists,” she said.
Unsafe lanes for bicycles are not the only problem for Sydney cyclists. Last month the Roads and Traffic Authority cut its bike funding by about two-thirds to $5.6 million, only 0.17 per cent of its budget for building roads.
The number of trips to work by cyclists in Sydney is also low. Only 0.5 per cent of commuter trips in Sydney are on bicycles, compared with 4.6 per cent in Perth and 3.2 per cent in Melbourne.
A spokesman for Bicycle NSW, Alex Unwin, said more people would use bikes in Sydney if the cycle network was complete.
Sydney had great cycleways on the Anzac and Harbour bridges, he said, but they did not connect with dedicated lanes at the ends.
Mr Boss said the number of bicycles commuters was low because the present lanes were unsafe or in the wrong places.
“[The Minister for Roads, Michael] Costa, says there are 3000 kilometres of bike lanes in the state but many of them are in regional NSW, and in Sydney many of them are in the western suburbs, where there’s no strong cycling culture. They are very good recreational facilities but they’re not doing much for commuters.”
CAMPAIGN FOR SYDNEY
- The campaign argues that cycling lane investment should focus on local trips, with the networks then connected.
- Planning of city’s local and regional centres should prioritise cycling and walking from their immediate catchments to cut short car trips.
- Most local areas across Sydney are relatively flat and are suited to the mode.
Clover Moore scraps previous plans and promises a new Bike Plan
October 15 October 2004
City of Sydney decides cycle plan isn’t roadworthy
By Joseph Kerr, Transport Reporter
Sydney Morning Herald
Bike planning for central Sydney is to be sent back to the drawing board less than a year after a strategy was adopted, with none of the improvement projects slated for last financial year having been completed.
The plan covering the city’s fragmented bike paths, which rely heavily on sharing lanes with parked cars and moving traffic, was approved by the previous city council in December, after years of investigations.
But the new council under the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, will rewrite the plan in the hope of better integrating bike lanes and bringing together bike facilities across the larger area created by the merger of South Sydney into the City of Sydney.
While $300,000 was promised in 2003-04 for bike lanes and bike parking by the former city council, headed by Lucy Turnbull, not one of the planned upgrades had been implemented, a council spokesman said.
Bicycle groups said meetings on the bike plan began in 2001, leaving them frustrated at the pace of improvements for cycling to and around inner Sydney.
Cycling advocates see Cr Moore’s council as well-disposed to bikes in the CBD, but the decision to rewrite the plan has raised concerns about more delay.
“I would like to see more bike-only lanes wherever they are possible,” Cr Moore said.
“Our over-arching aim is for a more integrated, effective network that provides a real alternative mode of transport.
“The network would link current cycle routes and make bicycling a more feasible choice for people making journeys through the city.”
The council’s website says it intends to adopt the approach of the former South Sydney council, described by Bicycle NSW’s vice-president, Andrew Dodds, as “Australia’s best practice”.
The South Sydney plan detailed 18 routes to be develop across its territory, shown with proposed bike lanes, signs and other amenities.
Mr Dodds said the City of Sydney’s  bike plan was a “minimalist report … the smallest document you could put together in terms of bicycle facilities”.
It is understood a consultant will be appointed to take stakeholder views on the new bike plan into consideration, including on issues like urban design and traffic.
The new plan is expected to be ready in 2005.