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Cyclists protest as bike lanes in Sydney and Adelaide threatened

Alia Parker's picture
Via @smladyman, protestors on Sydney's College Street cycleway. Cycle Traveller

Cyclists in Sydney are planning to step up protest efforts to save the College Street cycleway from demolition, while in Adelaide, a petition has started circulating to prevent changes to the new Frome Street separated bike lane.

Both lanes have come under threat, despite the significant investment in building them, amid plans to increase vehicle traffic into both cities.

The NSW Roads and Maritime Service is expected to demolish Sydney's College Street cycleway within a matter of weeks, despite its heavy use.

With Sydney about to undergo major transport renovations to improve its overcrowded public transport system, the RMS has argued that the College Street cycleway will instead be used to get buses into the centre during the disruptions.

However, with no safe alternative for the thousands of cyclists that use the lane, especially during peak commuting hours, riders are stepping up protests. A number of protests have already been held, with large processions of bikers riding the lane and gathering at Sydney's Martin Place. But as the situation becomes desperate, protesters are now aiming to leave the bike lane and take to the streets to disrupt traffic so to show drivers that if the bike lane is removed, they'll be forced to ride in the vehicle lane.

Two protests are being organised for Friday 26 June, with riders urged to meet at the corner of Liverpool and College Streets at 8am and 5.30pm.

Other individuals are taking things into their own hands, like @smladyman, who posted a photo to Premier Mike Baird on Twitter of them taking a poll of drivers who support keeping the lane, encouraging drivers to flash their headlights as they ride past (pictured above).

Meanwhile, cyclists in Adelaide are fearful a planned redesign of the Frome Street separated bike lane could result in a massive step backwards for bike access into the city.

Adelaide Lord Mayor Houssam Abiad told ABC radio Wednesday that the Frome Street bike lane had been “rushed” and “over engineered”. The comments come after a report found vehicle traffic has declined on the street and two-thirds of property owners along the street don't like the new bike lane.

As a result, the council will now redesign the bike lane to allow for an extra lane of traffic during peak hours. It says it plans to do this by narrowing concrete boundaries in some places and using vehicle parking spaces in others. It says the bike lane will remain and that it will still be separated from traffic.

Despite these assurances, cyclists are concerned the quality of the bike lane will be significantly diminished.

A petition on says the number of cyclists using Frome Street has increased 23% since the bike lane was built last year. Meanwhile, there has been a reduction in travel time for all those using the street.

“On Tuesday 1 July the Council has a choice to spend $50,000 make the current infrastructure even more safe, or spend up to ten times as much on ripping up the infrastructure and making the road less safe for cyclists,” the petition says.

Image: Protesters in Sydney next to the College Street cycleway. Source: @smladyman via Twitter.


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