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What is stopping us from getting on bikes? We asked you and did some research. 

Not along ago, we asked our subscribers why aren’t more people riding?

Here’s a bit of a summary of why people aren’t getting on their bikes more often.

Safety (Or Perception of Safety)

Looking at comments made, the vast majority  related to safety. While cycling remains a safe activity, (it’s safer than football, cricket and even walking downstairs), it is often perceived as unsafe. Part of this appears to be linked to a lack of infrastructure. A lot of comments tended to suggest that riders around Adelaide are often unhappy with cycling infrastructure noting that:

  • Bike lanes suddenly come to an end
  • Roadworks leave no space for cyclists
  • Cars driving and parking in bike lanes
  • Debris in bike lanes

Eric in our last article made the following comment: “Now whilst the works are under way there is absolutely no provision for cyclists to cross South Road and the Greenway is now severed, yet another piece of cycling infrastructure that goes nowhere.”

All these things even make the bike lanes themselves hazardous when they’re supposed to be a safe place to ride. Along with this provisions for bikes around the suburbs and in town are lacking, and with no place to park it further discourages riders.

Mark commented:  “The lack of secure covered bike parking in the city and at all main train and tram stops restricts how I use my bike into work and at the weekend.”

Attitudes

A lot of comments pointed towards the idea that attitudes toward cyclists can also play a problem. Eva commented that “[roads and bikelanes are] too narrow and end at traffic junctions where they are most needed, for drivers and riders and drivers” as such drivers can become easily frustrated with cyclists sharing the road or having to slow down for them creating dangerous situations for cyclists.

It is not just attitude, it is also a lack of awareness. It can often be that in slow traffic cyclists travel faster than the cars, while the cars are unaware of cyclists coming from behind in the bike lane. Driver awareness is an issue, particularly amongst motorists that don’t ride. (Note that Bicycle SA runs free cycling safety presentations for workplaces for those interested).

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More Action (And More Women On Bikes!)

Changing the perceptions of transportation and the use of bikes might be easy to talk about but putting it into action proves more difficult.

A great indicator of how well a city is doing for cycling is to look at the levels of women riding. South Australia has much work to do when it comes to cycling and women. Only one out of five cyclists on Adelaide’s streets are female. In Sydney it is as low as 17%. (Many European cities often see more woman cycling then men).

There are of course positive signs in South Australia, with a recent $12 million dollar announcement for more infrastructure, but we’ve some way to before before we can truly call ourselves a cycling city.

Become a Bike SA Member today support Bicycle SA’s mission to of safer conditions for all road users.