The Sydney Morning Herald ran stories this weekend just past, regarding the rise in cycle commuting as a reaction to the rise the oil prices. One of the city’s bicycle stores reckoned on a 20-25% in sales of bikes, and had also observed a greater number on pedal pushers on commuting routing into the central business district. The City of Sydney had earlier this year completed its own research which gave credence to such anecdotal observations. Cycle traffic across two major bridges into the city had increased five and sixfold in recent years. In a strange twist the newspaper wondered if road accidents involving cyclists might've also increased proportionally. But a major inner city hospital said they didn’t have figures to suggest this. This must be more through luck than design, as Sydney is sure not the most cycle friendly city to pedal in. A issue which may’ve spurred the growth in ‘bike buses’.....These are groups of cyclists who collect others along a set commuting route at set times, working on that Meerkat principle of safety in numbers. It was reported that interest in bike buses had, in the past 12 months, doubled.
And this increased cycle visibility on the streets might indeed be a wise move, considering a joint UK/Australia research project that was recently released. It indicated that drivers of four-wheel-drive vehicles (4WDs), or SUVs if you must, are up to 16 times more likely to have a road accident, because they ‘feel safer’ than other road users, and are thus more inclined to use mobile phones, or not wear seat belts, while driving.
But this rise in bike commuting is not isolated to Sydney. We’ve seen a rash of news items on the topic springing up like mushrooms all over the show, like here, here and here to give but a small indication.