I read a really interesting article on the differences between Sydney and Melbourne cycling. Now riding in Sydney, to me, is a bit like playing Russian Roulette. Sometimes you get away with it, sometimes you don’t, but you’re never quite sure which day is which. Melbourne cycling, seems like a dream. Cycleways that actually go somewhere, motorists that don’t think it’s entertaining to try and see how close they can get to your rear wheel without touching you, and plenty of good coffee.
So, nerd as I am, I did a bit of a look around as to why riding in Melbourne seems so much better than in Sydney, and lo and behold, I found that someone had done some research on it (published this year).
So, Pucher et al (2011) found that cycling levels are about double that of Sydney and is growing three times as fast. In addition to this, they found that the number of hospital admissions for riding accidents was about the same in Sydney and Melbourne, but taking into account the fact that Melbourne has double the cycling levels, it makes Sydney’s incidence of hospital admission bike accidents much higher than Melbourne.
They then looked at the reasons as to why this is the case. They listed reasons as follows.
Better (and more) cycling infrastructure
Better cycling programmes, advocacy and promotional events
Safer, traffic protected cycling facilities
Less aggressive motorist behaviour
More favourable topography (less hills)
More supportive public policy
Now, we can’t do much about the topography in Sydney, but the rest? We need better advocacy for supportive public policy, and I think the rest will happen.
Pucher, J., Garrard J., Greaves, S. (2011) Cycling down under: a comparative analysis of bicycling trends and policies in Sydney and Melbourne Journal of Transport Geography
Volume 19, Issue 2, March 2011, Pages 332-345 accessed online 18.8.2011 at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09666923