Driver pleads guilty to Shellharbour cycling death

Our southern Bicycle User Groups alerted us last October to a tragedy on the Illawarra roads however it has taken some time for the legal system to bring the driver in question to trial. With great relief, last Wednesday the driver faced court and pleaded guilty to “a charge of negligent driving occasioning death”. 

Our thoughts are with the Angus family as the legal system does it’s work and this case comes to it’s close on 16 November with sentencing. We will continue to work with our southern BUGs and members to follow this case through to it’s conclusion. 

We note a common theme that drivers are experiencing difficulty seeing riders when driving facing into sunlight. We urge any person operating any vehicle at dawn and dusk to take extra care on the roads, and more precaution if vision is obscured due to intense sunlight. It’s the responsibility of every road user that they take measures to ensure they do not cause harm to others, especially road users more vulnerable than themselves.

Parliamentary Inquiry Report

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Back in February this year, Bicycle NSW submitted to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Driver Education, Training and Road Safety, and we were one of three cycling advocacy bodies, alongside Australian Cycle Alliance and AGF, who presented evidence directly to the inquiry.

The report from the inquiry is now available to read.

It’s pleasing to see that one of their Recommendations (number 22, page xviii) is that Transport for NSW should “conduct future driver education campaigns with an emphasis on the development and demonstration of safe driving attitudes, which address the following topics:

– Driver and other road user distraction, with particular emphasis on the dangers for vulnerable road users,
– Road sharing and pedestrian, motorcycle, bicycle and heavy vehicle awareness,
– New and poorly understood road rules such as the minimum passing distance rule with bicycles”

We are willing to assist Transport for NSW in these campaigns to ensure the riding public are both informed and assured that wider road users are also educated.

It’s also pleasing to note that they agreed with our recommendation that a more professional approach is needed in Learner driver education.

The Government is required to respond to the Committee’s recommendations within six months of the report being tabled. We will endeavour to bring you more on this promising outcome as plans progress.

Sydney Harbour Bridge Update

Bicycle NSW welcomes the news that the Sydney Harbour Bridge design consultation will soon be open for public feedback. Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, The Hon. Melinda Pavey announced over the weekend that the consultation will open for public feedback in November.

“The Sydney Harbour Bridge is an international icon and appreciated by millions of people each year. It is also a vital commuter link for Sydneysiders including cyclists enjoying the view of the harbour or commuting to and from work,” Mrs Pavey said.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway upgrade has been a key advocacy project we have worked on from the very beginning where we have advocated for improvements to both the North  and the South ramp access points and are delighted to continue working with the NSW Government now to ensure sufficient community consultation and feedback is received on the designs so that swift action can be taken to deliver the much needed upgrades to our national icon.

“We look forward to working with Minister Pavey and her team to ensure the best piece of infrastructure for Sydney is delivered, bring our iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to everyone who rides a bike or wants to explore our cities growing network of cycleways.” commented Craig Meagher, Bicycle NSW CEO.

Completion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway forms a pivotal piece in our goal to complete an interconnected Sydney wide bicycle network to support and encourage more travel by bike and to relieve our congested streets. We announced, in partnership with the former Minister, the confirmation of funding for the multimillion dollar project in December 2016 and committed to supporting the consultation efforts to ensure best practice and design are achieved.

 

We have since been regularly attending the City of Sydney and RMS co-run workshops on the South Ramp Access with the goal to improve the connectivity between the Sydney Harbour Bridge Cycleway and Kent St, as well as the North Ramp workshops run by RMS, with the goal of replacing the steps with a complete cycleway connecting to Northern Sydney existing and proposed cycleways.

 

Our advocacy work has seen our influence on the preferred design options to ensure the best outcomes for riders, as well as for the local community. We look forward to advising our members and friends when consultation is open and how bike riders can have their say on this exciting project.

 

You can read the full Press Release from The Hon Melinda Pavey, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight here.

Bike Riding in NSW – Decline of Bike Sales

Announced this morning by the Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation (ACPF), bicycle sales are at decade low. Simultaneously, Australian children are at a peak of inactivity. Are Australian children in an inactivity crisis? The ACPF has called it so.  Bike riding in NSW is also in a crisis being the lowest in the country. By encouraging children to ride more we can help tackle this increasing lack of physical exercise in children through encouraging bike riding.

Within the City of Sydney Council 20% of residents ride their bicycle regularly compared to the 10% in Greater Sydney. Lord Mayor Clover Moore, stated that it was the long term project of building safe and connected bike paths that created this increase.  Even between 2016 and 2017, there has been a 6% increase in bike riders within the Inner Sydney area.  Three quarters of these riders had been cycling consistently and more than one fifth were returning to riding after a break.

Interestingly, residents in greater Sydney has access to one or more bicycles but rode twice as little as City of Sydney residents. 

Two women riding bicycles

At Bourke Street Public Street in Surry Hills (located in the City of Sydney) approximately 80% of the children walk, ride or scoot to school.  Principal, Peter Johnston, said “The kids enjoy it because they can ride along the bike lane to the school gate...Living in the inner city, it’s the perfect way for families to get daily exercise. It’s also great for the kids’ minds because they’re observing all that’s going on in their surroundings. It makes them an active part of the community. We encourage riding, walking and scootering as transport because they are such great fitness activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.”

Even amongst children aged 10 to 17 living in the City area, 40% are riding bikes, once again double that of the greater Sydney area.

 

New research highlights that 71% of children and 92% of young people are not meeting the recommended guidelines for physical activity in Australia.  This is a grave concern to us especially when bike riding in a viable option for many as an active form of transport.

According to the CEO National of the Heart Foundation, Adjunct Professor John Kelly, a survey of parents found that only 7% said their children did the recommended one hour per day of exercise, which means an estimated 600,000 children are inactive.

“It is vital we encourage daily physical activity for all our children and the daily trip to school is one of the best value investments we can make for their future health,” Professor Kelly said.

Comparatively, forty years ago 75% of children walked or rode their bikes to school and 25% were driven.  Times have changed and now more than 70% of primary aged are driven to and from school daily.

 

Why not even encourage your children to be active by riding in events?  Spring Financial Group Spring Cycle is the largest bike riding event in NSW and the only one where you can ride across the Sydney Harbour Bridge car free. Children also ride for free. It would be a great ride to work towards and lead to children being more active on weekends.

With national children’s bike sales at its lowest since 2003-2004, is it easier to link this information.  Children are simply not riding or walking to school as much. 

 

City of Sydney has been actively encouraging children to walk or ride to school.  This includes, conducting Bicycle Education for a 1000 students last year.  Roads and Maritime Services have built a number of Community and Road Education Scheme (CARES) Facilities in order to teach the local communities about road safety for all users.  You can find these centres in Wyong, Prospect and Bass Hill.

 

The Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation is concerned that it has become too hard for children to be active as part of their daily trips to school and other local destinations.

“The ACPF believes that the declining sales (of children's bikes) are a simple indicator that we need to do more to make walking and cycling a real option every day for our children,” ACPF spokesperson Stephen Hodge said.

They continued to call on governments and local councils to focus on creating safer routes for children to get to school. It would be the first step to building a healthier and more engaged generation.

“A coordinated approach to active travel to and from school will give 3.7million children in schools access to healthy physical activity every day and embed good health promoting behaviours from an early age,” Rosemary Calder, Director, Australian Health Policy Collaboration stated.

 

Bicycle NSW encourages this change. Bike riding is an active form of transport that will help curb inactivity amongst children.  Simply riding to school, children can gain all or most of their recommended physical activity. Together, we can tackle this situation.

Newcastle’s Bike v Car Time Trial

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Last Tuesday, a small group of active transport advocates coordinated an independent time trial in Newcastle.  Their aim was to access the differences between various modes of transport travelling between the Newcastle campuses of the University of Newcastle. Synchronising their watches at 8:30am they headed off in their different modes of transport – public bus, shuttle bus, car and bike. Having recruited architecture students from the University of Newcastle for this time trial they had more than enough hands on board.

Decreasing the car parking in the Newcastle CBD has raised many concerns amongst residents recently.  University of Newcastle is contemplating expanding the city campus but this does not include any additional parking.  While within the CBD itself there has been a loss of parking spaces due to new buildings.  These advocates for active transport aimed to tackle this growing demand for more car parking by highlighting that driving by car is the slowest way to get around in peak hour.

 

NewcastleTimeTrialBelow are the times it took each time trialer to reach their meetup point:

Public Bus – 35 minutes, 12 seconds

Shuttle bus – 36:41

Bike – 44:50

Car – 46:04

 

Interesting Sam who drove his car did say that he would have arrived at the same time as the public bus however, he struggled to find parking on campus.  In actual fact, there were 2 hour spots closer to the meeting point but for a 2 hour lecture at university they wouldn’t have been sufficient enough so he had to drive an additional distance to find a four hour parking spot.  Not to mention it cost him the $4.50 to park at the university, plus fuel and car maintenance on top of that.

Their time travel test highlighted the need for having alternative methods of getting around other than by car. The active transport advocates are pushing for the Cyclesafe Network to be built in its entirety to prevent the rapidly growing centre of Greater Newcastle from being buried in car parks and roadways. This was great work by some active transport advocates to help highlight the need more alternatively ways to get around other than by car.

 

Watch the video below!

Newest Ride Leaders put through their paces

 

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Every year, Bicycle NSW assesses and approves every day bike riders to become qualified Ride Leaders. These Ride Leaders are knowledgeable, experienced bike riders who love to show new and experienced riders alike, the great areas and routes in their local area to ride. Fostered by our affiliated Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) and Riding Groups, we have hundreds of approved Ride Leaders across all of NSW to help get more people riding more often.

Ride Leaders can be trained and assessed in the field, or, twice a year candidates and volunteers take over the Bicycle NSW office in Sydney Olympic Park to conduct large group assessment and approval. On Sunday 6th August 2017, we were happy to welcome another 10 approved Ride Leaders to our ever growing network. Continue reading

Qantas Assure is Ready to Ride!

Qantas Assure Staff try to Give a Metre

We had the great pleasure of visiting one of our Spring Cycle Supporting Partners, Qantas Assure, to participate in their Wellbeing Day recently. A terrific incentive, the day gave staff time to engage in activities and talks that can help them achieve a greater work/life balance, look after their health, and ensure their staff have support for their personal wellbeing. Continue reading

In response to a year of increased cycling fines

City Rider at duskBicycle NSW is not surprised to see a significant increase in fines issued to cyclists. NSW Police have delivered a series of operations (named Operation Pedro) over the last 18 months targeting bike riders and pedestrians to enforce the road rules that apply to them. It is disappointing however to see a large focus on bike riders not adhering to rules, such as having a working bell, when only 17 drivers had fines issued for not giving the minimum passing distance when overtaking a bicycle.

Cycleways Image by DSA ImagesPolice targeting bike riders has certainly seen a decrease in injuries and cycling deaths in the last 12 months, and that is a positive result.  Yet, alarmingly there has also been a decline in cycling participation across NSW. In 2015, 16.7% of people in NSW rode bikes regularly, that has now dropped to only 12.5% in 2017 – the lowest in the country according to the Australian Bicycle Council’s National Cycling Participation Survey. It’s certainly difficult to declare that the increased penalties have reduced the incidents when the overall number of people choosing to ride a bike have declined so dramatically.  Perhaps, bike riding in NSW is in a state of emergency?

NSW has a complex set of road rules, and a number of laws that focus just on bike riding. While some of these are valuable and protect vulnerable road users, there is certainly opportunity to review some of the many road rules, simplify them and make it easier for our hard working NSW Police force to both know and understand the laws and how best to enforce them. To have only 17 drivers caught infringing the minimum passing distance road rule in the last year demonstrates that better support to enforce this rule needs to be delivered.

We have more than 100 records of vehicles in the last 3 months that have not given bike riders a safe space when overtaking on our roads. Riders can add their experiences to our online record and help us demonstrate the spread of the issue. We have recently been delivering a Minimum Passing Distance Challenge (funded by a Community Road Safety grant) within businesses and have seen a high failure rate for participants who try to accurately estimate the minimum passing distance they need to give bike riders. An alarming 80% did not know they can legally cross double lines, when safe to do so, in order to give cyclists enough room when overtaking. Bicycle NSW wants to see a significant increase in public education on how to share our roads so that bike riders, pedestrians and drivers all know their responsibilities when travelling in whatever transport mode they choose.

GiveAMetreSignificant research both here in Australia and from overseas proves that with more people riding bikes, the safety of cycling increases. Enforcing the minimum passing distance is only one way NSW roads can be safer for bike riders – the safer they feel the more they will ride.  Seeing this sharp decline in NSW bike riding is not a good result, it means our roads are even less safe to share between modes of transport.

Bicycle NSW ran a Bike Riders Survey in 2016 and collated some interesting information about bike riding in NSW. It is sad to see that less than one third of bike riders are women. We know that with safety in numbers, a sign that the state is improving safety for bike riders would be to see an increase in both participation in general, but also to see an increase in women choosing to ride. You can see details of the initial results on our website as well as a downloadable PDF of our first round findings.

Bicycle NSW is here to support and educate NSW Police in enforcing the MPD rule and other ways to increase safety for bike riders. Our mission is to create a better environment for cycling, and we do that by encouraging more people to take up bike riding for achievable parts of their transport. Our flagship event, Spring Cycle, closes a traffic lane of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and dedicates it to 10,000 bike riders. We raise the profile and awareness of bike riding, encourage people to try a new way of getting around and making it easier for people to discover just how they can ride for transport in Sydney.

CanYouGiveAMetrebrochurecoverWe would love to see more encouragement and education from the State and Local Governments to show how all road users share the space, and especially empower drivers to understand that the minimum passing distance legislation allows them to safely cross double lines to give bike riders enough space when overtaking. It’s one of our key advocacy wins that our members helped us achieve last year, and we want to see more public education on this to ensure our roads are safely shared with cyclists.

With safer roads, Bicycle NSW would be happy to see more people out riding their bikes. It is not only great for its physical health benefits but the environmental ones too.  Not to mention the increased productivity and significant improvements that people experiencing stress and mental illness get from bike riding.

In our cities across NSW, there is so much potential for people living within 10km of their workplaces to choose riding instead of the car or bus or train, which in turn improves public transport capacity and reduces traffic congestion, that it’s a win for all. Businesses who support cycling through End of Trip Facilities and other incentives see the benefits through their staff retention and capacity. The people who physically can ride a bike should be supported and encouraged to give it a go instead of being threatened with big fines. There is a misconception that you need to be fit to ride a bike, when actually, you just need to be able to ride a bike to take advantage and reap the physical and mental benefits.

 

You can help us achieve a better environment for bike riding by joining Bicycle NSW today.

A membership with us is an investment in a better biking future.

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Dockless Bike Share wheels in to Sydney

Image courtesy of SydneyCycleways

Image courtesy of SydneyCycleways

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, we also welcome the introduction of the Reddy Go bike share scheme.

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 or wanting to use Reddy Go bikes, to definitely give it a go, but follow a few tips below:

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

NSW Government says ‘On Your Bike’!

Cyclists and Look both ways intersection image by DSA ImagesToday we are able to deliver our members and friends news from the NSW State Government’s recent budget announcement.

Following our advocacy work and relationship we have built liaising both directly with the NSW State Government and with its agencies Transport for NSW and RMS on a number of key projects and developments, Minister Constance has announced the 2017/18 NSW Budget includes $62 million in funds this year to deliver 150 projects for walking and cycling across both urban and regional NSW. This in an increase on last year’s budget of $58m for 300 projects, and is in addition to the already announced $80 million Cycling Infrastructure Fund for key projects funded over 4 years. Read the press release: Andrew Constance med rel – On your bike 150 local projects funded.

We are happy to see the continued focus on cycling and Active Transport infrastructure, we support the commitment to these projects and we look forward to working with the NSW Government, its agencies and Local Councils to ensure smooth delivery of these quality infrastructure developments.

We have reviewed the list of projects and are excited to see a spread of works across the state.

South Coast region projects include: the Otford Tunnel No.6 cycleway, shared paths and dedicated cycleway in the Minnanmurra and Jamberoo, cycle paths in Vincentia and Ulladulla, cycling network in Bega, shared path in Merimbula, shared paths in Narooma and Moruya, shared path in Shellharbour

Riverina region projects include: separated cycle paths in Albury and Kinross, shared path in Lavington, cycle bridge in Deniliquin, shared path in Griffith, bicycle parking facilities in Hay, bike path in Lockhart, shared path in Wagga Wagga

Northern Rivers region projects include: cycleway in Broadwater, shared path and cycle path in Hungry Head, boarwalks in Tweed Heads and Kingscliff

New England region projects include: shared path in Guyra, cycle path in Inverell, bike path in Boggabilla, cycleway in Tamworth, bike lane in Tenterfield

Mid North Coast region projects include: shared paths in Grafton, shared paths in Tuncurry and Griffith, cycle paths in Old Bar and Forster, cycleway in Macksville

Central Coast and Hunter region projects include: Coastline cycleway links in Green Point, shared path in East Gosford, pedestrian and cycling facilities in Terrigal, shred path in Musswelbrook, shared path in Singleton

Western NSW region projects include: cycleway in Gilgandra, cycleway in Narrandera, shared path in Temora, shared path in Bathurst, cycleway in Blayney

Central and Eastern Sydney region projects include: southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway connection, separated cycleways development in Redfern and Moore Park, cycleway in Coogee

Western Sydney region projects include: shared bath in Rooty Hill, shared path in South Windsor, shared path in Kellyville, shared path in Parramatta, shared path in Trench Reserve, cycleways in Penrith

Inner West Sydney region projects include: shared paths in Concord West and Exile Bay, the Greenway between Dulwich Hill and Haberfield, separated cycleway in Balmain

Northern Suburbs of Sydney projects include: shared paths in Macquarie Park, shared path in Beecroft, cycleways in North Sydney and Neutral Bay, shared path in Frenchs Forest, shared path in Willoughby, shared path in Chatswood

South-West Sydney region projects include: bike plan implementation in Camden, shared path bridge in Hurlstone Park, shared paths in Chipping Norton, Liverpool and Prestons, cycleway and shared path in Sutherland

The Press Release from Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, The Hon. Andrew Constance MP, states:

ON YOUR BIKE: 150 LOCAL PROJECTS FUNDED

More than 150 local walking and cycling projects across the state will receive a $62 million boost to better link communities and encourage active transport.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said new cycleways, shared paths and better pedestrian infrastructure would be delivered under the Walking and Cycling program, giving communities across the state access to safe active transport options.

“We are investing in key local walking and cycling projects to improve links in the city, the regions and our suburbs,” Mr Constance said.

Mr Constance said more than 150 local projects will be built as a result of the funding to support growing communities and local industries.

  • Kiama commuters will benefit from $5.4 million in projects including the Minnamurra Bends Cycleway
  • Coogee will receive $3.8 million for projects such as a bi-directional cycleway from Kingsford to Coogee
  • Penrith will receive $2.6 million to build cycleways and shared paths on Jane Street, Coombes Drive and Trench Reserve

Key Sydney transport interchanges will be supported by more than $5 million to build missing links in the cycling and pedestrian network including:

  • More than $1 million for cycleways in the Sydney CBD, including the link from Kent Street to the Southern Portal of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Almost $2 million to build a further stage of the segregated cycleway along the full length of Lilyfield Road between Iron Cove and Victoria Road in Balmain
  • A further $1.2 million to build missing shared pathways and pedestrian links in Parramatta.

Mr Constance said this funding was in addition to a massive $80 million Restart NSW reservation in the Cycling Infrastructure Fund.

“The NSW Government is investing an unprecedented amount on active transport infrastructure, making it easier for people who walk or ride to work to do so more safely,” Mr Constance said.