Riders outpacing new transport committee

Twice as many Sydneysiders are riding bikes for transport than the national average. But the numbers will stop growing if we can't finish the bike network.

We have nearly $6 million worth of contracts ready to go for the Kent Street Cycleway, which would provide access to the city's financial district, including Barangaroo, for thousands of people.

The project is waiting on approval from the NSW Government's Central Sydney Traffic and Transport Committee (CSTTC), which was created to provide coordination and certainty, but has only met once this year. This week's meeting was cancelled at the last minute.

Every month we hold off signing a contract for Kent Street, construction costs increase.

You only have to look at the worldwide bike boom in London, New York, Paris, Barcelona and Melbourne to realise bikes are a real transport option when the infrastructure is there.

According to this year's National Cycling Participation Survey, around 31,600 City of Sydney residents get on a bike in a typical week.

This research validates our own independent counts, which show the number of trips by bikes have more than doubled in the past three years. In fact, there has been a 113 per cent jump in bike trips since March 2010.

The National Cycling Participation Survey of close to 800 homes in the City of Sydney LGA during March also found:

  • Almost one in five residents (19 per cent) ride a bike each week, up from 14 per cent in 2011 and higher than the rest of Sydney, which averages 16 per cent;
  • 40 per cent of households have bikes, up from 35 per cent two years ago;
  • The number of female cyclists aged 30-49 has almost doubled and there's been a sharp increase in women over 50 riding;
  • 75 per cent of riders said they felt comfortable or neutral about riding in Sydney and 63 per cent felt conditions have improved in the last year;
  • When asked what the City of Sydney should do to encourage bike riding, over 77 per cent of residents want more on-road bicycle lanes, off-road paths and cycleways.

Sydney's cycleways are providing real alternatives for people to leave the car at home and help cut traffic congestion and pollution. We know those numbers will keep climbing if people have safe and convenient options to support them - so we need to connect parts of the existing network.

I hope that the CSTTC can make progress soon and support the growing number of riders on our roads.

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