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15 low cost innovations that boost cycling

Simon Parker's picture
Bicycle corral parking in Carlton, Victoria. Austroads. Cycle Traveller

A Melbourne bicycle parking facility that delivered local shopkeepers four times more expenditure than the car spaces it replaced is just one of 15 projects singled out in a report identifying cost effective ways to boost cycling in Australia.

The report, 'Low Cost Innovations to Encourage Cycling', was released by Austroads earlier this month.

Projects singled out included improved and consistent bicycle network signage plans, cycle-friendly street treatments, park and ride bicycle storage facilities, through to effective promotional campaigns that encouraged people to get out on their bicycles.

Priority bicycle crossing, Austroads report. Cycle Traveller"These case studies are examples of infrastructure, education and encouragement projects that are being delivered across Australia to increase cycling participation inline with the National Cycling Strategy objective of doubling cycling participation from 2011 to 2016," the report said.

"The “low cost” nature of the case studies is especially useful for practitioners operating within local government where cycling budgets are usually in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per annum rather than millions of dollars per annum."

The Melbourne case study centred on a bike parking facility built in the inner city suburb of Carlton.

The bicycle corral, which accommodates 24 bikes, was built in 2008 on the popular Lygon Street, and replaced two car spaces. It cost just over $30,000 to build.

By April 2010, in a study commissioned by the City of Melbourne council and undertaken by Alison Lee of Booz & Co Booz, the bike parking facility was generating four times the expenditure that the previous car spaces were.

"Bicycle corrals are suitable for installation at high-volume locations," the Austroads report said. "The Booz & Co study defines this as locations that achieve 85% or greater occupancy at any point in the day. They are relatively cheap to install and maintain and can be well supported by local businesses, councils and the cycling public."

The Austroads report also pointed to similar bicycle installations set up in the inner Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Surry Hills.

Road changes, shoulder added for cycling safety. Austroads. Cycle Traveller"The availability of parking at major trip attractors is a powerful incentive to make journeys by bike, particularly in heavily congested inner urban areas," the report added.

Not all projects involved building infrastructure, with campaigns promoting cycling also identified.

This included the Cycling 100 program, which the report said was the result of the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia's desire to encourage its train drivers to cycle to/from work, or for fitness and recreation.

"Under the PTAWA program 217 staff (74% train drivers) were recruited and given a free bicycle in return for their commitment to cycle a minimum of 60 kilometres a week for six months," the report said.

Bicycle storage and end-of-journey facilities were also provided, along with one on one support. Participants were required to undergo medicals before and after the program commenced.

According to the Austroads report, the program was considered a great success.

"It encouraged staff members to cycle when they had rarely done so before," the report said. "An internal evaluation conducted at the conclusion of the program indicated a significant improvement in both the average overall cardiovascular risk (52.1% improvement) and fitness (increased 14.4%) for program participants."

The 15 ways to boost cycling identified by Austroads:

  1. Infrastructure Audits to Improve Cycling Infrastructure
  2. Park and Ride – bicycle parking at public transport facilities
  3. Bicycle network signage
  4. Bicycle-friendly street infrastructure
  5. Shared path priority road crossings for cyclists
  6. Speed reduction cushions infrastructure
  7. Road shoulders to improve cycling safety
  8. Bike corrals – on-street bicycle parking infrastructure
  9. University bike hub encouragement/infrastructure
  10. Share the Path encouragement
  11. Try2Wheels encouragement programs
  12. Ten Cycle to Work program to encourage cycling
  13. WA's Cycling 100: Cycle to work incentive program
  14. Smarter Travel @ work encouragement government funded program
  15. Bicycle network maps 

Images from top: 1. Bicycle corral, bike parking in Carlton, Melbourne. 2. Priority road crossing for cyclists. 3. A road with an added shoulder for safety. Source: Austroads

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