EARLY counts by the Adelaide City Council show a huge increase in the number of cyclists using Frome Street following the installation of the controversial separated bike lanes two weeks ago.
The council won’t be starting its “strict regime” of rider counts until after this week’s international cycling conference is over, as it doesn’t want artificially inflated figures.
However, manual counts so far conducted on random days shows that peak hour rider usage is significantly higher than before the lanes were introduced.
Stage 1 of the bikeway – between Carrington and Pirie streets – has experienced the biggest increase in cyclists, with between 67% and 121% more cyclists using the stretch of Frome Street compared to counts done a year ago.
Even the northern end of Frome Street, after the separated bike lane ends, has seen an increase of more than 11% – presumably because syclists are choosing to divert to the the Pirie Street bikelanes.
The council data shows a huge increase in female riders of between 74% and 172%, which a council spokesman says is “incredibly encouraging as we know that something like 60% of women surveyed said they would ride more if they felt safer”.
The council says that before stage one of the bikeway opened, Frome Street carried about 700 riders per day. About 5000 riders commute to the city daily for work.
“We’ll know more about the bikeway’s use and overall interaction with all road users in coming months when we carry out a full independent review, as endorsed recently by council,” a council spokesman said.
“The bikeway is the beginning in a full north – south cycling network and is part of an integrated transport network to support the growth of the city.
“Experience in other Australian cities shows that we can expect a steady increase in users as riders become used to the design and word of mouth spreads about its increased safety and connectivity.
“These are heartening results though, and riders seem to be voting with their wheels and using the new Frome Street bikeway.”
The Velo-City Global bicycle conference begins in Adelaide tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Amy Gillett Foundation has warned that recent commentary on the Frome Street bikeway is harming road safety for cyclists.
The organisation warned that an “us-versus-them” mentality between drivers and cyclists is risking the safety of both parties.
The foundation’s Sean Sampson told InDaily media coverage of the issue had fuelled a dangerous culture of dehumanising and antagonising cyclists on the road.
“Any sort of commentary that starts to try to put it in an us-versus-them scenario is going to be detrimental to safety,” he said.
“It’s disappointing to see these kinds of attitudes A) being published and B), being discussed.”
He said everyone would feel safer on the road if cyclists and drivers demonstrated some more mutual understanding and patience.
“It all comes down to respect … We encourage bikers to hold a steady line. That way it gives drivers more confidence
“We recognise that bikes do frustrate drivers, but at the same time, bike riders do feel scared of car drivers.
“Really, we’re all just trying to get where we’re going, and for the sake of a few extra seconds, you can pause and breathe, and we can all move on safely.”
Written by David Washington and Bension Siebert for InDaily: Original Article
Banner photo courtesy of Paul Coster via Flickr.