It was heartening to hear in the news a couple of days ago that the City of Sydney Council is planning a more thorough off-road network of bike routes. Cycling in the heart of the city is terrifying. I'm not game to try it. It's bad enough driving through town, and even being a pedestrian has its moments when cars jump red lights.
So here's the plan so far. In a nutshell:
'At the heart of this commitment is a safe, convenient and sustainable 200 kilometre network (including 55 kilometres of separated cycleways) that we are building to reduce road congestion, cut emission and improve public health.
We have designed the network to improve connections between employment, recreation and residential destinations to make cycling an attractive transport choice.
To build this network the City has allocated $76 million over the next four years.'
The map above shows the central business district. It's a start! Some of it is already in place, like these lanes in King St:
Sydney City still has a fair way to go though. Parramatta City Council has some fab bike routes which we've used at weekends. Its central business district is far more bike friendly.
In an inspired move (I say inspired because it's rare that our state government does anything inspirational) the T-Way bus system that connects the north west of Sydney via special lanes and bus-only roadways and flyovers comprises cycle lanes. It means you can ride, should you feel fit enough, from Parramatta to Richmond without having to go through door zones or traffic.
The M7 motorway which links the northwest with the southwest has a specially built, separate cycle path running parallel to the motorway so cyclists can take the M7 route but be totally separate from cars and traffic. My friend Julie who works for the Roads & Traffic Authority (RTA) says that cyclists still insist on using the hard shoulder of the M7 instead of the cycle path though - why, I don't know; you get the same exits whether you're on a bike or in a car. I can't imagine why you'd want to risk your life riding in high speed traffic when you could have a brand new cycle path without gravel, broken glass or any other obstacles.
Wandering around the RTA website I found this little handbook for cyclists.