26 May, 2014

Hot Topic – Response to Peter Goers opinion piece, Sunday Mail, 25 May 2014

For most people it can be hard to know when to dignify some comments with a response.

This is the dilemma Council finds itself in today with Peter Goers irresponsible and factually incorrect opinion piece in the Sunday Mail on the Frome Street Bikeway and cyclists generally.

It’s really up to the community to decide how they feel about Goers characterisation of cyclists, but it behoves Council to at least set the record straight on his purely incorrect assertions about usage of the Frome Street Bikeway.

In reality, Council won’t be commencing a strict regime of rider counts until after the VeloCity Global Conference has left Adelaide next week. This is because we want to be sure data collected isn’t artificially inflated by something like the conference.

In the meantime, and before the conference kicks off on Tuesday, we’ve been carrying out manual peak hour counts on random days since the bikeway opened to monitor its use. We can report that peak hour rider usage on the route is now significantly higher than before.

Before stage 1 of the bikeway opened up through the South Park Lands, via some local parks at the Southern end of the CBD and onto Frome Street proper between Carrington and Pirie – we know Frome Street carried around 700 riders per day. These are among the 5000 riders we know commute to and from the city daily for work.

From our manual counts, we know the biggest rider increases have been evident on the new separated sections of the bikeway (Frome St between Carrington and Pirie), which range in increases of between 67% and 121% in the peaks alone from this time last year.

The northern section of Frome St, which is where the separated bikeway ends and the existing bike lanes remain, saw an increase of a bit over 11%. This is presumably because most riders are choosing to use the Pirie Street bike lanes rather than continue on the old section along Frome.

We are also seeing an increase in female riders of between 74% and 172%, which is incredibly encouraging as we know that something like 60% of women surveyed said they would ride more if they felt safer.

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.

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.

For more information

David Hill