$12 million has been pledged to turn Adelaide into a cycling capital. Bike SA CEO, Christian Haag, looks at what this means for South Australia and its capital city. 

The recent announcement from the State Government and Adelaide City Council to invest $12 million over the next two years to complete the north-south (Frome St Bikeway) and develop an east-west separated bikeway across the City is a significant step forward in realising Adelaide as a progressive, economically vibrant and internationally high ranking liveable city.

This investment represents the largest infrastructure investment to date within the City for cycling and we certainly commend the partnership approach between Transport Minister Mullighan and Lord Mayor Haese.


Users of the Frome Street Bikeway

Perhaps of more significance in this announcement is the commitment of $1 million towards the establishment of a fully-fledged ‘point-to-point’ bike share scheme for our City. The engagement of the seven neighboring City ‘ring councils’ in this project is vital and we encourage them to co-invest in this major initiative.

Frustratingly, there is an endemic assumption across certain sectors of the community that our citizens only want to travel by car to navigate their daily lives, whether for transport, shopping or business.

The facts tell a very different story.


Australia’s love affair with cars is waining. 

Nationally, total vehicle kilometres travelled each year by car across Australia has continued to fall since 2008. This means that we as a nation, are choosing to use our cars less each and every day.


Added to this trend is the growth in higher density urban living spaces, with apartment living within major city boundaries growing significantly. Inner city apartment buyers can save around $55,000 on their apartment purchase price by simply not having an allocated car park attached to their apartment.

Further, today we have increasing numbers of young Australians choosing not to hold a drivers license. Why spend the minimum of $7,000 a year on car ownership when you can easily ride your bike to work, play and eat?

The evidence shows that it’s far more enjoyable to spend a small portion of that significant annual expense at the local shops, eateries and bars with family and friends. And what a bonus that is to our small business operators.

This reaffirms evidence from United State’s cities that business owners report an increase of 24% turnover from those shoppers that ride a bicycle to their place of business as opposed to those that arrive by car.

The tantalising ingredient in the announcement is the commitment for Bike Share to move closer to reality.

Globally, bike share schemes have taken over the urban mobility strategies for major progressive cities.

In 2007 there were 15,000 bikes on offer via bike share schemes worldwide. This figure has grown to in excess of 1,000,000 bikes in 2015. Of note is the per capita share of these programs with China leading the way with a staggering 0.3 bikes per person. By comparison, Europe has a per capita share of 0.18 share bikes per capita, while Australia doesn’t even rate.

VIDEO: Hangzhou Public Bicycle sharing system serving the city of Hangzhou, China has over 66,500 bicycles operating from 2,700 stations, making it the largest in the world. 

Bike Share completely transformed the mobility framework in Seville, where cycling rates grew from 2% (similar to Adelaide) to 7% within several years. It just goes to show that if its readily available, cost effective and convenient, people will use it.

Become a Bike SA member and help advocate for better cycling conditions as well as enjoy discounts at bike stores and great insurance.