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Sydneysiders take to the streets in record numbers

Written by City Reporter

Sydneysiders take to the streets in record numbers

New research has revealed that more people than ever before are walking and riding in the City of Sydney, with double the number of people now cycling regularly.

The City of Sydney’s 2021 active transport survey showed more people are choosing to walk and ride for health and fitness, with one in five respondents citing the Covid-19 pandemic as a reason for riding more often.

The jump in the number of people riding comes as the City of Sydney opened three new safe, separated cycleway connections. This includes a new two-way cycleway along Saunders and Miller streets in Pyrmont, completing a safe bike route between the Anzac Bridge and the city centre.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the research provided valuable data the City would use to direct infrastructure spending and advocacy to help people ride and walk – for travel, health and fitness.

“Creating space for people has long been a priority for the City,” the Lord Mayor said. 

“In delivering wider, safer and higher-quality footpaths, pedestrian areas and cycling connections, we have created space for people to walk and ride – freeing up room on crowded roads and public transport and getting people into and around our city happier and healthier. 

“The significant increase in both cycling and reported feeling of safety while riding means our work to create a bike network has given more people the confidence to ride. 

“This is significant data that will allow us to understand the barriers, motivations and infrastructure required to support more people walking and riding, now and into the future.” 

The Lord Mayor said the City’s investment in active transport options had proven especially valuable through the pandemic.

“When the pandemic first hit, we responded urgently with the State Government – creating more space for people in the CBD and pop-up cycleways to help people get around safely while space on public transport was limited,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Looking for Covid-safe ways to get around and stay active through the pandemic, many people have dusted off the bike or picked one up for the first time.

“We’re committed to ensuring that anyone who wants to walk and cycle in our city has safe and enjoyable space to do so.”

The City of Sydney first carried out research into cycling behaviours, attitudes and barriers in 2006 as part of the development of its cycle strategy and action plan 2007-2017. The research was again carried out in 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017. From 2017 the survey has included walking.

The 2021 active transport survey is the result of nearly 2,000 online and face-to-face interviews. The research measured the views and behaviours of residents living within 10 kilometres of the city centre and monitored how they have changed since the previous 2017 survey.

The survey results showed an increase in walking and riding across the board, including:

  • 91% of residents are interested in walking more, up from 84% in 2017
  • The most popular walking trips are for fitness and leisure, visiting a park, pool, harbour or local shops
  • 18% of residents ride a bike regularly, compared to 7% in 2017
  • 18% of respondents owned a bike and used it at least once a month, up from 7% in 2017
  • 86% of people riding felt confident riding on the streets, up from 75% in 2017
  • 53% of regular riders have begun riding in the past two years, up from 34% in 2017
  • 76% of infrequent and potential riders are interested in riding more
  • 52% started riding after finding good places or routes to ride, more than double past surveys
  • 68% of potential riders, people who don’t currently have a bicycle, were definitely more likely to ride with separated bike paths available to them.

Three new inner-city cycle links will make it safer for people walking and riding in busy areas of the city. Funded by the state government, they are key connections in the NSW bike network.

The three cycleways are:

  • a separated, two-way cycleway on Saunders and Miller streets in Pyrmont connecting the Anzac Bridge to the city centre, via Pyrmont Bridge.

This route sees over 1,500 daily bike trips, making it one of the busiest routes in our local area.

  • a new connection linking Darling Square to the existing separated cycleway on Liverpool Street.

This is an important route for people riding between the city centre, Ultimo and the inner west.

  • a new cycleway on Chalmers Street near Central Station is expected to be completed in two months.

A section of the separated cycleway will link Prince Alfred Park to the existing Chalmers Street shared zone and cycleway, making it safer for people riding and walking in the busy pedestrian area between the bus stops and station entrance.

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