Bikes come in all shapes and sizes and can help overcome the barriers people face accessing education, work, leisure and services.
Media’s focus on leisure and sport riding by adult males presents bike riding as the preserve of the elite but this is only part of the story. Bike riding can offer an opportunity to overcome transport disadvantage that is most likely to be experienced by people with low incomes, families with young children, people with a disability and Indigenous Australians.
Many people in NSW live in places where the only form of public transport is the school bus, and some don’t even have that. If people in regional areas do not have access to a car they can end up trapped in poverty, unable to undertake further education or get a job.
Half of working age Australians can’t get full-time work, with younger workers especially affected, leaving transport budgets tight and making it difficult to access goods and services.
One in five Australians have a disability and the rate increases in older age groups. We know that bikes can be used as mobility assistance when people can’t walk far and e-bike riding can enable people to keep enjoying an active lifestyle.
Bike riding offers a low-cost, non-polluting form of transport that can be used by people of all ages – but to reach its potential and be fully accessible we need:
- Safe, connected bike infrastructure so people of all ages can reach schools, shops, work, businesses and services – if it is not good enough for a child or grandparent to use it needs upgrading
- Bike-train-bike solutions, especially for rural and regional communities where failing to integrate transport forces people into cars or leaves them stranded
- End of trip facilities and safe places to park bikes
- Provision for more types of bikes – e-bikes, cargo bikes, bike trailer
- Greater support for share bike and share e-bikes in communities facing the greatest transport disadvantage
“A lot of the current provision in NSW excludes people who are unable to carry bikes up stairs or those too concerned to mix with traffic. Once accessible infrastructure is built we see more women and people of all ages travelling by bike,” said General Manager of Public Affairs, Bastien Wallace.
Bicycle NSW is calling on the NSW Government to commit to building bike infrastructure suitable for everyone to use so more people benefit from healthy travel and less congestion.