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Sydney cyclists flood Twitter in defence of city's bike lanes

Alia Parker's picture
Cycling in Sydney. Cycle Traveller

Thousands of Sydney cyclists have taken to social media today in a powerful display of solidarity defending the city's bike lanes following a misleading article in tabloid newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Spearheaded by Sydney Lord Mayor and cycling advocate, Clover Moore, the Twitter campaign using the hashtag #onyerbike has encouraged cyclists to tweet the details of their bike commute today, with many also tagging the newspaper, flooding its account with cyclists' tales. The hashtag has been trending all day and looks set to continue to reign in the Twittersphere as cyclists log their evening commutes.

The Daily Telegraph used incorrect data to argue that the number of cyclists in Sydney has declined in recent years, despite an increase in bike paths and separated cycle lanes. The article followed the announcement by the NSW State Government last week that it plans to build new separated bike lanes in Sydney's Central Business District as part of its broader transport strategy for the city.

The Lord Mayor said the newspaper's statistics were confusing and misleading as they were based on the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area, which includes Newcastle and Wollongong, not just the CBD area itself, which was the focus of the article.

The article angered Sydney's growing cycling population, which believes the newspaper has an agenda to stop the construction of more bike lanes in the city.

"#onyerbike I ride to work all the time, city bike paths are boss. If only the editors of @dailytelegraph had the foresight of @clovermoore," said Brendan Smith (‏@_brendor 20m).

"@CloverMoore The numbers speak for themselves. Erskineville to CBD: Bike 15min; Train 20min; Car 30min. More bike lanes please! #onyerbike," said Russell Van Howe (@abikeman).

The City of Sydney said the latest independent bike counts in the CBD, taken across 100 intersections, showed that the number of people cycling in the city has more than doubled in the past three years.

“The independent counts found around 2,000 bikes are passing through each of the City’s top peak-hour intersections on an average weekday, with significant jumps recorded over the past 12 months,” the City said in a statement.

The bi-annual bike count showed 2,248 people rode their bike over the Harbour Bridge at peak hour, up from 1,730 on the previous count. Similar increases were noted on the College, Liverpool, Bourke, Oxford, and King Street intersections.

Furthermore, a report by the Australian Bicycle Council earlier this year revealed that bike rides in Sydney were more than twice the national average.

Despite The Daily Telegraph's hesitancy to support cycling in Sydney, residents and businesses in the CBD have been supportive of the State Government's new City Centre Access Strategy.

“This strategy recognises that to be a successful global city we need to embrace change and that will mean a new approach to how we access the centre of Sydney,” The Sydney Business Chamber said.

The Property Council also welcomed the State Government's plan to reduce congestion.

“I know the debate about bike paths can be a contentious one – but it is being led by people who work in the city,” it said in a statement.

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