The facts on morning peak cycling counts

There has been confusion in some media outlets about the number of people using bikes and cars in central Sydney.

Recent figures about the Kent and College Streets bike paths counted just one hour of the morning peak (8am - 9am). The number of bike riders came from independent counts conducted for the City of Sydney.

The comparative survey by Transport for NSW counted cars in one lane of traffic adjacent to the cycleway. The survey made clear it was comparing the bike lane with just one lane of traffic to provide a direct comparison. It was not comparing the bike lane with every lane of traffic in the street.

Other figures printed this morning related to a four hour period (6.30am – 10.30am). The cars counted were in the entire roadway, sometimes two and sometimes four lanes, rather than just the adjacent traffic lane. It is no surprise that more than double, or quadruple, the amount of road space over a period four times longer shows more people are driving.

Clearly the two sets of figures cannot be compared. Referring to the earlier figures as false or a fraud shows a basic misunderstanding of the method used and the purpose of that work.

In Sydney's CBD space on our road network is limited, and must accommodate private vehicles, buses, taxis and bikes. Comparing the number of people using a cycleway to the number of people using the same amount of space on the road (one lane) helps show what the most efficient use of limited space is.

Independent research by the City of Sydney continues to show that the number of people choosing to ride is growing. The number of bike trips being made in the City has grown to more than 60,000.

The number of daily bike trips in the City of Sydney local government area has increased from 25,868 in March 2010 to 60,098 in March 2014.

Separated cycleways provide people with a safe and efficient option. The biggest growth in the number of people riding has been on separated cycleways, with 327 per cent growth on Kent Street and 307 per cent on College Street during the morning peak between 7am and 9am.

Last updated: Friday, 23 May 2014