New data shows that bike riding across NSW thrived throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, during COVID-19 restrictions, when gyms closed and team sports stopped, many people (re)discovered bike riding. Riders of all kinds jumped on their bikes to explore their local area and also enjoy cycling tours across the state.
City of Sydney
The City of Sydney pop-up cycleways encouraged more people to ride bikes instead of using private vehicles, or public transport, to move around during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shifts in the times of day people cycled during lockdown also suggested that more people were able to travel, or ride to stay active, outside traditional commuting times.
Back in October, we reported these pop-up cycleways were being used 15,000 times a week, showing that when you build it, riders will come.
According to the Transport for NSW daily cycleway count data, the Henderson Rd pop-up cycleway went from being used 1742 times a week to 5636 over a 7 month period – that’s a 223.5% increase.
Pop-up cycleways have helped create a safe place for bike riders to cycle, and have encouraged more people to jump on their bikes for recreation and travel.
Meanwhile in Parramatta, despite the lack of pop-up cycleways and the disruptions to current cycleways, numbers continue to grow.
Along the Baludarri Wetland in Parramatta, there was a 31% increase in riders between 2019 (161,664) and 2020 (212,882).
Parramatta Council continues to build cycling infrastructure to make their council bike riding friendly, even though state projects are getting in the way at present.
The Parramatta Light Rail has cut cycleway connections, making it nearly impossible to safely ride in some areas unless your bike has wings.
Not Enough Bikes
Of course, with more people riding there is now a high demand for bikes. Many bike retailers have completely run out of stock and with high import cost, along with the slow delivery time, we’re set to see the low stock continue.
If you’re looking for a bike we recommend taking a look at a secondhand bike shop, such as the Western Sydney Cycling Network.
“With bike rider numbers continuing to grow, now is the perfect time for the NSW Government and councils to build connected cycling networks,” commented Kim Lavender, Bicycle NSW Communications Manager.
“The pop-up cycleways were a great temporary addition to some areas of NSW, but let’s help keep NSW active by building more safe places to ride.”
We encourage you to share your stories about how COVID-19 changed your riding habits with your local council or MP in order to call for more cycling infrastructure in your area.