A cycling update

Cycling on Sydney's bike paths

Cycling on Sydney’s bike paths

Last year, after a spate of cycling deaths, I posted about the riskiness of cycling in Sydney. I concluded that cycling Sydney’s streets is actually safer than it was 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve gone back to a regular commute – I’m cycling to work two or three times a week at the moment. So how’s safety now?

So far this year there have been four cycling deaths in NSW, which compares with eight for the same period in 2014. For the twelve months to the end of August, there have been seven deaths, which compares with an average of 10 for the previous three years. So deaths are down, but the numbers are small enough it is quite hard to tell whether that is random fluctuation.

What about exposure? Coming back to cycling, particularly in winter, it felt to me as if there were more bikes than ever on the roads. Interestingly, though, cycling numbers on my regular commute are significantly down.

Source: Transport for NSW

Source: Transport for NSW

As the chart shows, cyclist numbers this year are down around 10% on a year earlier.

I’d be interested in readers’ views about why that is; certainly it feels to me as if there is more negative comment about cyclists in the press than there used to be. There  is a regular clash of views about cycle paths in Sydney’s CBD, in the press and television, with the cycle paths in Sydney’s CBD being changed at the moment (depending on what you read, to improve them, or to make more space for cars in the city.

But to get back to my original question. Is cycling getting safer or not? There probably has been no statistical change in cycling safety, so stay on your bike if you were willing to get on it last year.

I expect the real reduction in cycling commuters is likely to be bad for the overall health levels of Sydneysiders.

I’ll leave you with this video about cyclists from Charlie Pickering who plays both the unfairly maligned cyclist, and the annoyed driver – very amusing if you are a cyclist.