The media has been abuzz lately with talk of dockless bike share coming to Sydney and what it will mean for Sydney. Bicycle NSW is supportive of any new services and facilities that enable more people to choose to ride a bike. While our main focus has been on infrastructure funding and implementation, rider safety, laws and protections, and public education campaigns to inform all road users on how to safely share our shared spaces.
SydneyCycleways have been welcoming of the new scheme and have provided guidelines and advice for the private operators delivering the bike share scheme across the CBD. In the past we have liaised with Local Council’s looking to investigate options for Bike Share Schemes in their municipality and understand the City of Sydney and the now amalgamated Inner West Councils had been undertaking a feasibility study on how best to structure and implement such a scheme. We also supported the Bykko electric bike (docked) share scheme that opened in Newcastle in November 2016 who consulted with our local Affiliated Bicycle User Group, Newcastle Cycleways Movement, as well as the local Council and businesses in the area.
Bike share schemes have a great capacity to help newer riders to be able to test out bike riding for transport without having to invest in a new bike and gear before they are confident riding will work for them. It’s a great way to ‘try before you buy’ and we’re hoping it will get more people riding. The more bike riders in any city or town, the more visible and safer riding is for everybody.
We recommend anyone curious about taking up bike riding, to definitely give it a go, but follow a few tips below:
- Brush up on your skills. If you’ve not ridden a bike in a while, it’s worth having a skilled professional get you back in the saddle. Councils like City of Sydney and Inner West Council run free or discounted Cycling Confidence Courses which will help you remember and hone the skills needed to ride a bike. Or seek out a local accredited cycle coach, training provider or other skills based training outlet. Your local bike shop may be able to point you in the right direction or run their own!
- Get Covered. When riding a bike, it can be great fun and a freeing experience, but every now and then, something can go wrong. Whether you hit a pothole, mount a curb wrong, slip in the wet, or just have a bad day, you want to be sure you’re covered for any eventuality. A Bicycle NSW membership provides the best recreational bike riding insurance available in NSW for both personal accident and third party public liability and damage, as well as great discounts to our events like Spring Cycle, a range of retail discounts and deals from our affiliated partners, and of course, a dedicated team advocating for a better environment for all bike riders. For the cost of less than one coffee a week, it’s the best way to get confident on two wheels and feel secure any time you ride.
- Know the Rules. NSW has some specific road rules for bike riders that are unique to our state. It’s best to know what you can and can’t do on a bike in NSW so that you have a smooth and positive experience every time you ride. RMS have put together an easy page with information about road rules that apply to bike riding. Bicycle NSW has also put together a page of resources for bike riders and other road users to help understand the new Minimum Passing Distance Rule that came into place in March 2016.
- Plan ahead. We’re helping to create an integrated bicycle network across our cities, connecting cycleways, bike paths, common routes and shared paths, but some of the puzzle pieces still aren’t in place yet. So it’s best to plan how you’ll ride from one place to another. There are plenty of online resources and maps for Local Council areas, but you can also get the best advice from the horse’s mouth. We have a network of affiliated bicycle user groups who regularly deliver rides in their area. Why not find your local group and go along for a ride with them, or ask their advice on where the local bike routes and infrastructure are.
- Have FUN! Bike riding is the most fun way to get around. It’s great for both your physical and mental health and gives you an amazing experience and view of your city as you use your own steam to pedal to your destination. Take a sense of adventure, discover new ways to get places and free yourself from the daily grind of the road or public transport commute. Start small, with a bike as a short part of your commute, then build to longer distances until you find yourself enjoying your commute by bike and making it the best part of your day.
Our Membership Manager, Katie Bell, recently spoke with ABC The World Today as well as The Guardian about the positive effect bike share can have and the potential pitfalls the scheme may face during it’s roll out in Sydney.