City planner urges governments to improve Australia’s cycling infrastructure


To keep pace with the increase in the number of cyclists, e-bikes and e-scooters, and to meet Australia’s net zero goals, lead urban designer Andrew Brodie – of town planning and design firm Hatch RobertsDay – urges governments to dramatically improve cycling infrastructure in the Australian region urban areas declaring that the boom in electric mobility and cycling during COVID is putting immense stress on cycle lanes, main streets and city centers.

The COVID pandemic and the lockdowns that followed have encouraged a dramatic uptake in cycling. Australia’s bicycle imports grew 46% between fiscal 2019 and FY21, while e-bike imports are said to have increased 800% in the past five years.

Brodie notes that “Australia’s lack of safe and accessible cycling infrastructure means cyclists are often forced to share routes with pedestrians or cars. The councils favored quick fixes, such as painted cycle lanes with little protection for drivers from cars. Cycling networks are often not well planned, with lanes ending abruptly at dangerous intersections. The risk of accidents must be managed and imposes an urgent need to invest in safe cycling infrastructure and in the design of complete streets.

“In urban design, greater emphasis is placed on complete streets, which balance the needs of bicycles, pedestrians, transit, delivery vehicles and cars, while creating attractive destinations. Our recent Complete Streets projects represent a relatively inexpensive and high-value carbon reduction investment. “

While the health and environmental benefits of cycling are well documented, Brodie points out that there is also evidence of economic improvement resulting from increased use.

Brodie adds “some of the world’s most beloved cities, like Paris and Barcelona, ​​are reinventing themselves as privileged places for people, favoring pedestrians and bicycles over cars. Paris recently announced $ 386 million in funding to add 186 km of protected cycle paths and triple the number of bicycle parking spaces in the city.

In Australia, the cycling industry injected $ 6.3 billion into the Australian economy in 2020, with around a third of Australian adults spending on cycling-related goods and services, according to a new report. The report also pointed out that millions more would be contributed to the economy with improved cycling infrastructure, which would encourage Australians to ride more.

Brodie reveals six steps to improve Australia’s cycling infrastructure to become a world leader of bike-friendly cities.

1. Favor bicycles and pedestrians over cars. For too long, cars have been the priority mode of transport in Australia. To ensure a safer infrastructure that prioritizes low-carbon mobility, a 180-degree mindset shift is needed in the design, management and education around the movement network at all decision-making levels. It ranges from the structure and powers of state agencies to the many little things that add up to make a big difference.

2. Address security. Safety is the biggest obstacle causing hesitation in cycling. In fact, an estimated 69% of Australian bicycle consumers would be encouraged to ride more if there was an increased sense of safety when riding in traffic. The simple litmus test for any new cycling infrastructure should be: is it safe enough for a 7-year-old and their 70-year-old grandparents?

3. Fill in the gaps in the cycling network. Cash-strapped councils are often unable to make improvements to the cycling network, and trails often end abruptly or do not offer routes between home and key destinations, such as shops, schools, universities and public transport. These dangerous vulnerabilities in the network prevent people from commuting between home and work, school or stores. When cycle paths are easy to navigate and the number of well-connected cyclists will increase. Governments need to consider the larger cycling network and how the different LGAs intersect, as well as accommodating a mix of users, including routes for recreation and recreation, exercise and as a mode of transport.

4. Make protected cycle paths. Painted cycle lanes are the most basic level of infrastructure for the government, and they often lack protection against fast moving cars. Protected cycle paths separated by physical barriers like parked cars, a sidewalk or landscaping provide a buffer zone against busy roads. Evidence suggests that they also make roads safe for cars.

5.Use speed to dictate how the modes of transport mix. Often times, cyclists, and especially e-bikes and e-scooters, are forced to compete for space with pedestrians on already busy lanes. In Australia, electric bicycle motors are capped at 250 watts and the power cuts off when they reach 25 km / h. At such speed, they must be separated from pedestrians for safety reasons and accommodated on cycle lanes, protected cycle lanes and in streets where traffic is slow. When a cyclist is struck at 45 km / h or more, they have a 50% or less chance of surviving. But this increases up to a 90% chance of survival, if they are struck at 30 km / h.

6. Design of complete streets. Through thoughtful design, Complete Streets provides safe and accessible mobility for all modes of transport and all capacity levels, while beautifying public spaces with greenery and making them more vibrant and attractive. Hatch RobertsDay’s Complete Streets projects in Bondi Junction and Bankstown in Sydney and in the town of Vic Park in Perth offer a myriad of benefits. More active transportation helps reduce obesity and improve the mental health of residents, it increases the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, reduces carbon emissions and can stimulate economic growth by creating attractive places with more activities. of street.

Image: Concept for Hatch RobertsDay’s Complete Streets project. Courtesy

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July 2, 2021 – Christchurch City Council seeks suppliers of e-bikes and e-scooters for public rental

June 3, 2021 – Australia imports record number of bikes

February 24, 2021 – Darwin improves signage for cycling network for fitness, recreation and tourism

January 14, 2021 – Bicycle maintenance station installed along the Rail Trail of Mont Gambier

October 8, 2020 – Melbourne city center city councils welcome funding for integrated cycling network

October 2, 2020 – The town of Fremantle celebrates WA Bike Month

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June 15, 2020 – 40 kilometers of new fast-track cycle paths in Melbourne

September 16, 2019 – Shoalhaven City Council supports NSW Bike Week

October 12, 2015 – Bicycle Network Announces New Women-Only Cycling Initiative

December 23, 2011 – Making Australia More Bike Friendly

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