Section 4.7 Good reasons for cycle paths

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

There are good reasons for the ACT Government to invest in cycling infrastructure. Here are three:

  1. People will only cycle if they feel safe, and they do not feel safe riding on the road.
  2. Safe cycling infrastructure reduces road fatalities.
  3. Better and safer cycling infrastructure reduces injuries, particularly among the old and young, who are more vulnerable in negotiating traffic.

Other countries have confirmed that when the cycling infrastructure improves, more people take up cycling.

Cycling infrastructure is worthwhile

Given the choice of riding on a busy road or driving, most people will take the car. Many studies confirm this including a recent Berlin study (Section 5.7).[1] The reason the cycle fatalities are low is that we choose not to ride on roads – a pyrrhic victory (Section 4.5). Without dedicated grade separated cycling infrastructure, people will not cycle except as a form of recreation, as has happened in Canberra over the last decade. Kids cannot drive but they can ride a bike. For that reason alone, good cycling infrastructure is worthwhile.

[1] FixMyCity Team, Study on subjective safety when travelling by bicycle. Results and data from a survey of 21,000 participants, , 2020, <; [accessed 12 July 2021].

“If you want to take urban biking seriously you need to build more, you need to build a lot more, a lot faster, separated cycling infrastructure. Not on every street, but on every street that has high volume and high speeds. Painted lanes will not do. You will not even get close to 10% mode share.”

Video of Brent Toderian, one of Vancouver’s leading thinkers in density and design, gave a lecture at the University of Canberra in Canberra June 2017, from 36:19 to 36:50 min.

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