Ministers invited to ride and witness the impact of removing safe cycling infrastructure

This Friday June 26, hundreds of bicycle riders will demonstrate the real impact of removing the College Street cycleway by riding in the adjacent traffic lanes during the morning and afternoon peak hours. The community led rally has invited Ministers and MPs to join the ride and experience for themselves the impact of their decisions that threaten the personal safety of all road users.

The State Government is set to demolish the $4.9m worth of safe separated cycleway along College Street without providing an alternative to current and future bicycle riders. The removal of this important infrastructure will force the 2,200 daily trips made in the existing cycleway onto the congested and potentially unsafe traffic lanes.

Construction of the Light Rail has been given to justify the removal of the cycleway, however, without a publicly available bus plan or traffic plan it is impossible to know whether the removal of the cycleway is based on real evidence.

Bicycle NSW believe the Review of Environmental Factors (REF)1 for the College Street and Castlereagh Street north cycleways by the RMS is flawed in many areas.

“We are pleased to support this community rally because we fail to understand the claim made in the REF Executive Summary that removing the College Street cycleway will ‘improve the safety and accessibility for cyclists across the city centre and surrounds’,” says Ray Rice, CEO of Bicycle NSW.  “And to propose cyclists will be required to use alternate travel paths when cycling through the city centre including “proposed” cycleways is ludicrous. These proposed cycleways don’t exist and the State Government is unlikely to deliver them until 2019.”

The REF includes traffic modeling which guesstimate increases in traffic volume of 20% or 40%, and demonstrates intersection performance along College Street will “dramatically improve” after the removal of the cycleway. However, this modeling does not seem to include the effects of the 2,200 bicycle trips per day that will be forced to mix in with the cars. Therefore any small time gains for motorists are likely to be false and at the expense of cyclists’ safety.

Bicycle NSW anticipate the existing 2,200 bicycle trips per day on the College Street cycleway will continue to their journey along College Street and on the road. As a consequence their safety will be decreased, the congestion for motorists increased, and ultimately the efficiency and productivity of the transport system fails to serve everyone trying to access the city.

“The Government is failing to consider the impact on both people who drive and people who ride bicycles, and while we don’t want to be obstructionist, the Government has given no alternative but to ride on the road. Our ride this Friday intends to demonstrate the impact of removing the College Street cycleway, which will force thousands of people who cycle onto the adjacent traffic lanes every day. To demonstrate the personal impact of their decisions we have invited Premier Baird, Minister Gay and Minister Constance to ride with us on Friday. They need to see and feel first hand what they are forcing all of us, whether in car or on a bike, to endure every day when they remove the increasingly popular College Street cycleway,” says Rob Berry, regular rider and community activist.


#SaveCollegeStreet Rally Ride details

Friday 26 June – 8.00am: ?Meet cnr Liverpool & College Streets

Friday 26 June – 5.30pm: ?Meet top end Martin Place, Macquarie Street




Sydney unites to demand safety for bicycle riders

The State Government will demolish $4.9m worth of successful transport infrastructure that safely delivers Sydney’s bicycle riders every day to and from the city. Ministers have also confirmed they won’t deliver any safe alternative and will force cyclists onto congested and potentially unsafe roads.

Hundreds of concerned people will gather at the top end of Martin Place on Thursday June 4 to show their deep concern for the safety of the community and demand the government provide safe separated cycleways.

“We are demanding the government show genuine and immediate action for bicycle rider safety, by meeting their commitments to deliver safe cycling infrastructure. They must be to retain the College Street cycleway and to deliver the network of cycleways as per the promised Sydney City Centre Access Strategy,” says Ray Rice, Bicycle NSW CEO.

Minister Gay was a signatory to the Strategy in 2013. The government took the Strategy to the last election. Within months of its return to power they are reneging on their commitment to provide safe separated cycleways through the CBD.

Bicycle NSW welcomes the support from all sectors of the community, not just those on bicycles. Business and community leaders are rallying together and welcoming the support and action from other government MPs.
“We are delighted to see the support from progressive MPs for safe cycling infrastructure and hope that the government will realise their mistake and reverse this retrograde decision. The government must demonstrate a commitment to safety and reducing accidents and fatalities across the whole state.” says Ray Rice.

“The community is grieving the recent death of Dr Henri Sueke and we will have a minute’s silence to honour our friend and all cyclists killed and injured on our roads.”

Dr Paul Hanley, GP and Emergency Department Doctor, is passionate about the pivotal role of the government.
“Emergency departments across Australia can only pick up the pieces. Our leaders can protect more of their fellow Aussies from death and sorrow than all the doctors, ambulance officers and trauma teams put together. Just with a biro. Bike riders are Aussies. Leadership is hard. We CAN do this,” says Dr Hanley.

“Evidence consistently indicates that clearly marked and connected routes, separated from traffic, will encourage more people to ride, with benefits to health and wellbeing, as well as less traffic congestion and better air quality. We urge the NSW government to maintain its commitment to safe cycling, as outlined in the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy and retain the College Street cycleway,” said Kerry Doyle, Chief Executive, Heart Foundation NSW.

Everyone is welcome to attend because the decisions by both Ministers Gay and Constance will jeopardise the safety and wellbeing of all city commuters and the viability for Sydney as a competitive global city.


Government Ministers are failing the people and putting lives at risk

Today is a tragic day for bicycle riders as one of our community loses their life in a fatal on-road accident just as Minister Constance and Minister Gay reveal their antipathy to deliver the network of safe cycleways across the Sydney business district, and announce the demolition of the existing College Street cycleway.

“Bicycle NSW is shocked by the tragedy on New South Head road this morning and deeply regret that it highlights the urgent need for the provision of bicycle riders to travel safely on and off our roads. We are stunned and extremely disappointed by today’s retrograde announcement from Ministers Gay and Constance.” says Bicycle NSW CEO Ray Rice.

The number of people riding in and around the City has soared 132% over the last four years. Streets with separated cycleways or shared paths have seen the biggest growth including College Street with 307% growth. While the number of bicycle trips in the CBD has more than doubled, the number of injuries has declined since the first separated cycleways were installed. Completing the network would help ensure that continued growth of people riding does not result in an increase in injury and deaths. However today the Government announced the northern section of the Castlereagh Street cycleway would not be delivered and the safe, successful and popular College Street cycleway would be demolished.

“Their decision to abandon the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy contradicts the Government commitment to double the mode share of cycling in Sydney by 2016 as outlined in the Sydney’s Cycling Future3, ironically titled ‘Cycling for everyday transport’. The Minister’s announcement seriously puts people’s lives at risk by forcing bicycle riders onto congested roads with a culture unprepared for sharing with cyclists. The decision is bad for transport, bad for health and bad for business”, says Ray Rice.

We challenge Minister Constance’s statement that “Today is about providing businesses plenty of time to prepare and plan well ahead of major construction activity.” The Access Strategy was released in December 2013 and businesses have been preparing for the planned infrastructure that promised to serve active transport and relieve our choking roads. Businesses have been significantly investing in end of trip facilities for bicycle riders however the Government is not going to provide the on-road facilities essential to safe commuter cycling. It is the Government that is unprepared and the Ministers who have failed to plan ahead.

We need the Ministers to recommit to delivering the connected cycleways for Sydney. Safe separated cycleways through the city centre are an essential part of the wider Sydney Regional Bike Network, a project with the potential to connect 15 Council areas that surround the city centre, with an estimated value of reduced congestion of $97.8 million by 2026. The Ministers are letting down the people of Sydney, greater Sydney and the people of NSW with their incapacity to deliver.

Minister Gay committed to Bicycle NSW in December 2014 “Until we get a solution we won’t move on College Street”, and yet there is obviously no solution and no alternative with Castlereagh Street north being cancelled. It is regressive and does not ensure the City can serve 200 of the Top 500 Australian corporations and over half a million jobs headquartered in the city. The Ministers decision will force 2,200 bicycle riders who use College Street cycleway every day onto the road and puts cyclists and all roads users’ safety at risk.” says Bicycle NSW CEO Ray Rice.


Sydney Light Rail Major Works Start October 23

The detailed construction schedule for Sydney Light Rail has been released today with major CBD works starting on George Street between King and Market Streets on October 23.

Light Rail will operate from Circular Quay to both Randwick and Kingsford, with “turn up and go” services arriving every four minutes in the CBD during peak hour and every eight minutes on each branch line.

Clean, efficient Sydney Light Rail vehicles will carry 450 passengers, the equivalent of nine standard buses. More than 220 buses will be removed from the CBD when Sydney Light Rail is operational as part of a fully integrated transport model.

Work on the 12-kilometre route will be staggered on a ‘get in, get out’ basis to minimise disruption to businesses and residents.

Construction will be staged across 31 construction zones with no one zone affected for the entire period. Individual CBD construction zones will be impacted for between eight and thirteen months before being handed back for public use.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance stressed the importance of recognising the challenge ahead, as well as the need for change.

“Today is about providing businesses plenty of time to prepare and plan well ahead of major construction activity,” Mr Constance said.

“Sydney can’t accommodate the 1600 buses that enter during the morning peak now, let alone provide for more in the future.

“We’ve been elected to get on with the job of transforming NSW through major transport projects such as the North West Rail Link, Sydney Rapid Transit, WestConnex and NorthConnex and light rail in the Sydney CBD and Parramatta.”

To ease congestion during major construction, a new bus timetable will be introduced on 4 October. The closure of George Street to buses means customers’ stops will move to other bus corridors including Elizabeth Street, Castlereagh Street, Park Street, Druitt Street, Clarence Street and York Street.

Movement of some bus stops will typically mean walking to an adjacent city street for a new service. Customers will be given plenty of time to familiarize themselves with the new timetable before it is implemented.

To keep the city moving during construction the NSW Government will establish a single body headed up by a Coordinator General Marg Prendergast that will have powers to manage traffic and transport arrangements in the CBD.

The central body will be based on the success of the 2000 Olympic Delivery Authority and the Coordinator General will employ delegated powers under the Roads Act 1993 and the Road Transport Act 2013.

With increased traffic diverted from George Street and extra demands placed on alternative routes, some planned works including the construction of Castlereagh Street north cycleway will not be carried out until after light rail construction is completed.

The removal of College Street cycleway in the coming months will also help better manage traffic, both cars and public transport.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Duncan Gay said he was determined to help motorists as much as possible during construction.

“We’re throwing everything at this to alleviate pressure – we’re appointing a central body, putting work on hold where we can and carrying out supporting road upgrades before construction starts,” Mr Gay said.

“We know this is going to be a difficult period of change but we’re Sydney and we’re used to rising to the challenge – I know light rail will be no exception.”

Key major construction dates include:

  • September 2015, construction access for Moore Park West Corridor
  • October 2015, CBD works start
  • January 2016 start of Randwick branch
  • February 2016, start of Kingsford branch
  • August 2016 start of work in Surry Hills
  • September 2016, completion of the first pedestrian zone block in George Street
  • May 2017 completion of final pedestrian zone block in George Street
  • September 2017, start of the final work zone along the route (Elizabeth St to Chalmers St)
  • September 2017, arrival of light rail vehicles
  • April 2018, completion of major civil construction; ongoing works continue to finalise the installation of electronic systems and construction of platforms
  • June 2018, testing commences

Major construction phases relate to excavation works, the rebuilding of roads and the laying of tracks. Work will continue on technical fit out and the construction of individual platforms after this time but will be confined to narrower corridors and will be significantly less intrusive.

Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout construction as will local vehicle and emergency vehicle access. East-West crossings of the CBD will also be maintained.

**The light rail construction schedule is now available in full for all 31 zones

Bicycle NSW media coverage

Our recent media release has caused quite a stir! Steve Price reads part of it on The Project. Check it out on Facebook.

Our Communications Director talked to Steve on his radio show about the issues. Play the interview below.

David Kelly

Stop the spin cycle – it’s time to move forward

Cities and communities are just like people – if they stop moving they die. And sadly Sydney, not just the City of Sydney but greater Sydney, is at risk of a slow, unspectacular but memorable demise from being Australia’s leading global city and primary economic centre if we do not get moving and provide for active transport.

Sydney’s status as a liveable and vibrant global city relies on efficient access to, and movement around, the city centre. The Sydney City Centre Access Strategy provided a clear direction for how all the different transport modes including light rail, buses, trains, ferries, cars, taxis, pedestrians and cyclists could work together in the city centre to reduce congestion, provide for future growth and improve the commuter experience. It was recognised that “better facilities for pedestrians and a completed city centre cycleway network will make it easier to move around the city centre.”

While the nay sayers want to populate the myth that the Access Strategy and investment in transforming our transport and mobility is flawed, there is tangible evidence to confirm it is not just working but thriving. The number of people riding in and around the City has soared 132% over the last four years and bicycle trips in the CBD have more than doubled. Streets with separated cycleways or shared paths have seen the biggest growth, with a 408% increase on Bourke Street, 327% on Kent Street and 307% on College Street. They help realize the State Government target to double the mode share of cycling for trips in Sydney by 2016, and subsequent growth in cycling for all trips in NSW, however there is still much work to do. The Access Strategy is at the heart of its success, or failure.

Safe separated cycleways through the city centre are an essential part of the wider Sydney Regional Bike Network, a project with the potential to connect 15 Council areas that surround the city centre. Recognised on Infrastructure Australia’s list of priority projects, AECOM quantified this Regional Bike Network would produce a 71% increase in bike trips by 2026 with an estimated value of reduced congestion alone is $97.8 million, or $4.07 for every commuter switching from a car to bicycle during peak periods.

And the good news is people want to switch. Research in inner Sydney found that around 75% of potential and irregular riders would ride if they had safe infrastructure such as the connected cycleways committed to in the Access Strategy.

It is not just the people who want it, so do the business and community leaders. The National Roads and Motorists Association launched their first Cycling Strategy in March with the first recommendation “Deliver a minimum grid of separated cycle paths in the Sydney CBD, as proposed in the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy”.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) recognises the economic significance of diverse transport opportunities and proper transport links, end-of-trip facilities and a broader, integrated strategy to achieve these better outcomes. “GBCA member organisations and building owners would like to see their ongoing investments in high-quality end-of-trip facilities in CBD office buildings complemented by ongoing government investment in equally high-quality transport infrastructure”, says Robin Mellon, the Green Building Council of Australia’s Chief Operating Officer.

“Everyone who owns or occupies buildings should have an interest in the NSW Government’s commitment to complete the cycleways. In addition to the obvious reduced environmental impacts and the health benefits of cycling, employers can also realise financial savings through reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and improved staff attraction and retention. On average, regular cyclists take one less sick day per year – which can have a measurable impact on a company’s bottom line.”

The National Heart Foundation supports the urgency to get moving. The Blueprint for an Active Australia recognises physical inactivity contributes to Australia’s growing and significant burden of chronic disease and in 2008 alone, the cost of physical inactivity in Australia was $13.8 billion. Active workplaces promoting physical activity before, during and after work; and active travel which reprioritises transport and urban planning to encourage more cycling, walking and public transport use are essential to the health of our communities, cities and economies.

“Physical activity plays an important role in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and everyone needs to get a minimum of 30 minutes physical activity a day”, says Julie Anne Mitchell, Cardiovascular Health Director, Heart Foundation NSW. “By creating liveable cities that encourage people to choose active transport options like cycling and walking, we can encourage people to integrate physical activity into their daily routines.”

It is time to stop the spin from mediocre minority groups and support the full delivery of the Sydney City Centre Access Strategy to ensure Sydney can move forward as a liveable city and NSW can move forward towards a strong, sustainable future.

Kerry Doyle_SQ

Community leaders join push to get Sydney women cycling this International Women’s Day

Political, business and community leaders will ‘gear up’ this International Women’s Day as part of efforts to redress Australian women’s low levels of participation in bicycling.

The Heart Foundation GEAR UP GIRL Ride on Sunday 8 March is Sydney’s largest female-only recreational bike ride. The initiative of Bicycle NSW aims to increase the number of women in NSW who bicycle for recreation or transport.

NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, The Hon. Gabrielle Upton, deputy president of the NRMA Wendy Machin, and chief executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Pauline Vamos are among those supporting the event. Each is an ambassador for GEAR UP GIRL 2015 and will take part in the ride.

Presently, only 7% of Australian women use a bicycle for transport. A 2013 survey by the Heart Foundation found more than 60 per cent of women said they would like to cycle more often, but were inhibited by a number of concerns including safety.

Heart Foundation NSW Chief Executive Kerry Doyle(pictured) said the charity was partnering with Bicycle NSW to host GEAR UP GIRL not only to get women bicycling for its heart health benefits, but also to assist in removing barriers to participation.

“Heart disease is still the number one killer of Australian women, and many women are risking their heart health by not being active enough,” Ms Doyle said.

“Through GEAR UP GIRL, we hope to highlight that bicycling can be a fun and enjoyable way for women to exercise with friends and family.

“We also want to spotlight that helmet hair, getting sweaty and a fear of getting their dress caught in a bicycle chain are not the only barriers to more women cycling. Women are being let down by a lack of safe cycle ways.

“In a 2013 survey we conducted with the Cycling Promotion Fund, 50% of women said that the thing that was most likely to get them riding more often was having more separated cycle paths, bike lanes and wider lanes on the road.

“We want both state and local governments to ensure safe walkways and cycle ways are incorporated into future planning decisions, and are actively calling for this change in the upcoming NSW election.

“GEAR UP GIRL demonstrates that when safe cycle ways are available, women do bicycle ride and can really enjoy their journey,” Ms Doyle said.

Bicycle NSW Communications & Advocacy Director Sophie Bartho said the event, founded in 2008, was expected to attract 1000 women and children in 2015.

“Women are the change agents in our communities. We hope by encouraging women to ride, eliminating barriers to participation and growing their confidence, they can bring others to this important and healthy lifestyle,” Ms Bartho said.

“By showing the community the existing cycling infrastructure including cycleways and bike lanes, it is proven that women will ride more regularly. The popularity for the event demonstrates the growing demand for more safe cycling infrastructure.”.


Women from all walks of life take to bicycle riding

Political, business and community leaders will ‘gear up’ this International Women’s Day as part of efforts to transform Australian women’s low levels of participation in bicycling.

Bicycle NSW is proud to have the support of women from all walks of life riding the Heart Foundation GEAR UP GIRL Ride on Sunday 8 March. With a commitment to increasing the number of women cycling, Bicycle NSW has created Sydney’s largest women’s only recreational bike ride to encourage more women to take to their bikes and enjoy the joy and freedom of riding.

“Sunday morning rides are a long standing tradition in our household and something I look forward to every week. It’s not just great exercise but a fantastic way to see your neighbourhood, your city and the world. Fingers and cleats crossed I will keep cycling down the road for many more years,” says The Hon. Gabrielle Upton, Minister for Family and Community Services(pictured).

As the popularity in cycling continues to grow, and sales of bicycles outstrip sales of cars, it is no surprise that the Deputy President of the National Roads and Motorists Association (NRMA) Wendy Machin is actively supporting this event.

“Cycling is a great way to maintain an active lifestyle. Many NRMA Members ride bikes to get around as well as for fun, and Gear Up Girl is a fantastic opportunity for women to get on a bike and raise money for a good cause. I can’t wait to get peddling!” said Ms Machin.

Chief Executive of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia Pauline Vamos sees bicycle riding as an important physical activity for all ages and life stages.

“Bike riding is low impact and provides a social outlet and we should all be riding into our ‘80s. It does however take practice and we need to build confidence, and what better opportunity to meet prospective bike buddies than at this event,” said Ms Vamos.

The event highlights the health and social benefits of bicycle riding and reminds women of the positive environmental impacts.

“As a woman committed to cycling to and from work, I’m thrilled to be a Gear Up Girl Ambassador. I love cycling because it’s great for my heart, it’s an easy way to be environmentally friendly, and I can always find a free parking spot!” says Jacqueline Arias, Founder & CEO, República Organic, Australia’s first fair trade organic coffee brand.

Heart Foundation NSW Chief Executive Kerry Doyle said the heart health charity was partnering with Bicycle NSW to host Gear Up Girl to highlight that bicycling can be a fun and enjoyable way for women to exercise with friends and family.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of Australian women, and being physically active for 30 minutes a day is one of the key ways women can reduce their heart disease risk,” Ms Doyle said.

“On March 8 we hope to show that when safe cycle routes are available, women do bicycle ride and can really enjoy their journey.”

With an expected 1,000+ women and children riding together, there will be no shortage of inspiring stories and delightful coincidences as women from all over greater Sydney, and from all walks of life, ride together. “I love how in a crowd of hundreds of diverse women, you always find a commonality that goes beyond the bike. The ringing of bike bells is interrupted by laughter and squeals of delight as the community of women connect on numerous levels and share their stories”, says Sophie Bartho, Bicycle NSW Communications & Advocacy Director.