Last Tuesday’s Civic bike count has shown a continuing downward trend in the number of people cycling into the city centre during the morning commute.
An initial review of the data collected by Pedal Power ACT on behalf of the ACT government shows that in the past three years we’ve seen a 2.1% drop each year on average in people riding their bikes into Civic on the first Tuesday in March.
Women made up only 30.7% of commuter bike riders this year. This cannot be attributed to any one reason, but it does indicate that if we want more Canberrans to use bikes for transport, we need to make riding more viable for women.
As part of the longest consecutive data collection for cycling participation in Australia, Pedal Power ACT has been conducting an annual cordon count since 2004 to better understand how Canberra chooses to travel in and out of the Civic centre.
The ACT cordon count is not promoted ahead of time as it has been in other states, meaning that our data is accurate, rigorous and useful to inform transport planning.
Since 2012 this data has been collected on behalf of the ACT Government and is part of an ongoing program to understand active travel habits.
The annual percentage increase in cycling numbers from 2004 has exceeded 8% in all but one year (due to inclement weather). The 2017 figures indicate an 6.1% increase in the number of riders that travel into the city between 7:30am and 9:00am since 2004.
The number of people riding a bike to the Civic town centre was on a rapid rise between the years of 2004 and 2010, demonstrating an annual growth of at least 10%. Recently the figures have started to plateau.
The trend is partly attributable to new housing in Civic. But with our population set to grow to 421,000 by 2020, we need stronger leadership on making cycling for transport appealing to more Canberrans.
Part of the problem with getting more people – particularly women and children - to use active methods of travel is due to safety concerns. Research indicates building separated riding facilities is a proven method of getting more people onto a bicycle and reducing traffic and parking congestion.
Cultural norms are also an issue. 114,000 Canberrans ride a bike every month, yet only 2.9% use their bikes to commute.
Many people haven’t even considered the idea of riding a bike for transport, and may simply need more information on how they can make active travel part of their lives.
The ACT Government’s Active Travel Office has launched two initiatives aimed at getting more Canberrans riding to work in 2017, with the first Park and Pedal location in Australia at the Arboretum, and Canberra Walk and Ride Week, which starts tomorrow.
Pedal Power ACT wants Canberrans to keep up the good habits they start during Canberra Walk and Ride Week, by continuing to ride for transport in April. Cycle Works starts on April 1. Sign up, set a goal and ride to work during April 2017, and work riding into your life.
|Average % growth/year||Number of people cycling|
|Since 2014 (7:30-9:00)||Since 2012 (7:00-9:00)||Since 2015 (7:00-10:00)||Year||7:30-9:00 am||7:00-9:00 am||7.00-10:00 am||%female|
|Rained heavily this year||2007||n.a.|