The current regional rail requirements for taking bikes on trains are making it harder and less safe for everyone.
People travelling longer distances in NSW may need to use a bike at either end of their train journey. This is made harder by the requirement that bicycles be folded or boxed before being taken on the train, and the limit of five bikes on an XPT and three on an Explorer train.
This can prevent people travelling when they need to, and would stop most families from travelling together on the same train. Many styles of bike that are more inclusive for families and people with disabilities – such as cargo and recumbent bikes – are unable to be folded or boxed within the required dimensions.
These requirements also create a manual handling risk. A bicycle pushed on its wheels into a storage area presents very little risk to anyone. Once the bike is folded or disassembled and placed into a bag or box, it becomes an awkward and often heavy item, raising the risk of manual handling injuries to people trying to move or store it.
“We would like to see changes to ensure more people can leave the car at home and use bikes to connect their train journeys,” said Bicycle NSW General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
Many regional and rural services used by commuters have under-used luggage compartments that could be altered to allow bikes to be wheeled in and stored in racks or attached to the wall or rails with Velcro straps.
“The more often people don’t have to use cars, the easier it is for everyone else, but it needs to be easy, practical and safe to bring a bike on the train,” said Bastien.
Bicycle NSW calls on Transport for NSW and train operators to help solve this problem.