City News

Pedestrians concerned over conduct of inner-city cyclists

The inner-city has seen a boom in cycling over the past two years, causing concern for safety among pedestrians. Photo: KennG.

By EVA BAXTER

Some residents of the inner-city have complained about the behaviour of cyclists on City of Sydney streets.

The City of Sydney Active Transport Survey released in June found there are more people riding more regularly, and decreased patronage on public transport due to COVID has seen a cycling boom in the inner-city.

Creating pop-up cycleways is a project currently in progress by Council aiming to create new spaces for people walking and riding to allow for safer travel.

Due to these cycleways being installed as fast as possible, the Council has not consulted with the community, but stated they will have consultations on the future of the streets before anything becomes permanent.

An Ultimo resident who chose to remain anonymous said she feels she must protect the safety of her child by standing in front of her when a cyclist is approaching.

She mentioned Wattle Street in Ultimo and Pyrmont Park as places of particular concern.

She told City Hub the Council should enforce the law to disallow cyclists from using pedestrian footpaths.

“When cyclists ride a bike, they need to know that pedestrians have priority over them to use the footpath and they should pay attention to who is on the footpath, especially kids, older people, or pets,” she said.

Treacherous tracks

An artist’s impression of the cycleway and paved intersection on Saunders Street, Pyrmont. Photo: City of Sydney.

Pyrmont resident Jennifer Fenech Kennedy criticized the Council’s Saunders and Miller streets Cycleway improvement works, a major link in the NSW government’s strategic bike network.

The route between the Anzac Bridge and the city centre is a major commuting link for bike riders. There are almost 1,500 weekday bike trips between Anzac Bridge and the Union Street cycleway during peak hours.

There are 3 shared intersections along the new cycleways marked with a different surface treatment, plus a ramp for vehicles entering and leaving the intersection.

The improvements also include 3 new paved intersections at Saunders Street and Quarry Master Drive, and Miller and Mount streets and Miller and Jones streets.

Jennifer told City Hub the paving obscures the street entrance on Jones Street and could lead to an accident.

“It’s confusing and there are no stop signs or instructions for who has the right of way. Bike riders just go flying across my street.

“For a short street we have a lot of traffic, especially with the Fish Markets, so you either get the cyclists who come racing off the ANZAC bridge, they’ve got a lot of momentum speeding down Saunders Street, and then turn into Miller Street, they come racing up Miller, crossing Jones without concern or looking for traffic.

“The cyclists coming from the city are coming downhill at Miller Street and again, either don’t realise it’s a street or don’t care,” she said.

A City of Sydney spokesperson said over the same time that bike trips have doubled in the local area, reported bike crashes have been slashed by more than one-third.

In 2019 there were 89 reported crashes compared with a peak of 154 in 2010.

“Separated cycleways play a key role in reducing crashes, including crashes involving people walking,” the spokesperson said.

“We now have over 25km of separated cycleways in the City of Sydney area, with more planned for 2022.

“When it’s not possible to build separate cycleways, shared paths are there to help less confident riders like children and families ride safely.”

The Council’s twice weekly share the path information sessions about safely sharing space on popular bike riding routes are currently on hold because of COVID restrictions.

The NSW government sets the road rules for all users, while NSW police is responsible for enforcement.

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