behaviour change strategies | how sydney got non-cyclists on two wheels

in the recent years the city of sydney has made ambitious plans to make 10% of journeys in the city to be by bike.

sydney faced many transport challenges: congestion, overstretched public transport, and narrow roads. on top of that was the hostility of sydney drivers towards cyclists. these factors contributed to cycling rates below the australian average and a statistic of only 0.8% of work trips made by bike.

a new approach was therefore asked and after a public consultation, the Sydney 2030 blueprint for a greener city was launched, with sustainable transport forming a major part of the initiative. the consultation revealed that the main reasons for not cycling related to fear of traffic and poor facilities, with the solution seen as more cycle lanes.

As a result, sydney is working to provide 200km of cycle lanes by 2030, with 55km separated from traffic. although segregated cycle lanes are not ideal, with the risk of producing a “them and us” mentality, they have been successful in persuading previous non-cyclists to get out on their bikes. research done by the council has shown that the likelihood of a resident commuting by bike increases exponentially with the proportion of their commuting trip made possible on a separated bike lane. the new lanes have been combined with decreased speed limits and extensive junction redesigns which give cyclists priority and improve visibility. one advantage of the new junctions is that there has been a decreased number of accidents involving all modes of transport, not just bikes.

the council have run safe cycling courses, given out cycling maps and encouraged “gracious” cycling, providing free bike bells for stretches of shared use pathways. efforts have been made to keep the local community on board by making the new facilities attractive. all these measures have combined to produce rapid growth in cycling over two years, with numbers up by an average of 82% across all areas of the city.

they have also been able to demonstrate economic benefits through reduced congestion, better health, environmental improvements and savings for public transport.

{via the guardian }

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