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Sydney posts record bike trips as new bicycle lanes open

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Bikes parked in Sydney. Cycle Traveller

It's a classic example of the old adage 'build it and they will come' – cycling in Sydney's city centre has soared in the past four years and the increase is directly linked with the development of cycling infrastructure over the same period.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said cyclist numbers are expected to continue to grow over the coming years as the city's separated bike lanes develop into a connected network.

The number of people cycling in and around the Central Business District (CBD) has soared 132% in the past four years, independent bike count figures show. The number of daily bike trips in the City of Sydney is up from 25,868 in March 2010, to 60,098 in March 2014.

“Bike lanes keep riders safe – research by Transport for NSW shows that separated bike lanes have doubled the number of cyclists on the road but led to fewer total injuries among them,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said. “Their research also showed that the separated bike lanes in the city centre regularly carry as many people as in cars on adjacent traffic lanes.”

The bike count – which occurs twice a year at 100 intersections across Sydney's CBD – showed that streets with separated cycleways or shared paths had the biggest rise in bike trip over the period, up 408% on Bourke Street, 327% on Kent Street and 307% on College Street.

The figures for the Kent Street cycleway are particularly encouraging given the route is not fully complete. Already more than 2,000 cyclists a day use the open section of the separated lane during peak hours. Once completed, the Kent Street cycleway will provide a safe connection between North Sydney and the Darling Harbour/Chinatown precinct.

The Lord Mayor said the growing number of people travelling on two wheels showed the importance of continuing to roll-out of Sydney’s connected bicycle network. In the past month, a new separated cycleway from Green Square all the way to Central Station via Waterloo and Redfern has opened.

“We are now working with the NSW Government to roll out more separated bike paths to keep riders safe, to encourage new riders and to connect the most popular routes and existing paths,” she said.

The new cycleways will run along Liverpool, Castlereagh, and Park streets. The new lanes are expected to be open before construction starts on the light rail project in 2015.

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