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Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 11:38 pm
by fatdudeonabike
I'll keep this short (unlike me...)

How did Canberra get this reputation? Is it just because other cities are horrible for cycling?

The more I ride, the more I realise:

- Canberra isn't at all flat! Driving around I always thought it was... it's not!
- There aren't anywhere near as many bike paths/lanes as I thought there was - I was riding through the eastern side of inner north (Braddon, Ainslie, Dickson). It was awful.
- Drivers hate us. I never noticed this before. I just thought they were crap drivers. They're not, they're vitriolic.
- Pedestrians hate us. Even on the most obvious of truly shared paths, such as around the lakes, we're treated like we're out to kill every child dumb enough to go for a walk.

Tell me, how did we get this reputation?

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 12:41 am
by Mulger bill
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Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:54 am
by fatdudeonabike
:lol:

That's what I thought!

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:29 am
by Howzat
I find 99% of drivers are very respectful. Just have to watch out for hoons and morons - just as you do when you're behind the wheel, except you're more vulnerable on a bike.
Same with pedestrians, except it's on us to wind back the hoon factor. Just ding the bell, say "bike on the right" or whatever, and thank you or good morning as you pass. They're appreciative!

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:34 pm
by Ross
I only find a very small percentage of drivers actually deliberately try and hurt or harrass cyclists. My belief that most near misses are the result of ignorance by the driver. They genuinely have no idea that driving a 2 tonne metal box <30cm from a cyclist at 60km/h+ is life threatening for the cyclist.

After recently spending a week cycling around Adelaide I must say I found the motorists there to be more easy going and tolerant, though perhaps this was because TDU was on and there were several thousand more cyclists on the roads than usual.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:39 pm
by Ross

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:47 pm
by x8pg2qr
AFAICT, yes.

In Australia, I've never, ever seen so much consideration for bicycle riders in town planning as I have in Canberra.

Now, not saying it's awesome, or that all the routes are great. Or that I've lived in many many cities. But this is compared to the other places I've been to. I haven't lived in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne or Perth; visited, yes. From my visits to Melbourne city, maybe they have great spots. NB: I mostly cycle off-road, but do cycle on-road. And also live on the south-side.

Let's see:
One of the bridges beside Duntroon damaged: detour is built quickly, and tarred even. OK, fine it was part of a the LBG Eastern Loop, so maybe that deserved quick action.
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-35.3 ... 8&layers=C

One of the bridges in Curtin washed away early 2012. Things take longer (community consultation etc), but bridge is replaced about a year later. Seriously, I know most/all bridges can be used by pedestrians. But not this one. It led straight to Yarra Glen road.
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-35.3 ... 8&layers=M

Molonglo cycle path requires a detour because of new housing estate. Replacements are built immediately (still evolving, but ridable).
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-35.3 ... 7&layers=C

Even now, you can already see some connectors into the new suburb at Wright. And when the pathway through Chifley/Pearce was built, it was wide and asphalted.
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-35.3 ... 7&layers=C

I can think of some lousy bicycle routing decisions: bicycle paths that become footpaths that intersect driveways. Excessive traffic lights, or just poor routing (e.g. there aren't many good off-road paths into Canberra Hospital, or even into Woden Plaza). On-road: the disappearing cyclepaths of Hindmarsh Drive. The parts where they disappear and reappear are just… very odd.
https://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=canbe ... itory&z=21

And then there's the Bowen Drive crossing. I think the umming and ahing about this is pretty much par for the course in the rest of Australia. In e.g. Sydney, (outside City of Sydney), that's probably as far as the decision process will get. If you compare things like cycling along the Sydney light rail extension, or replacing the stairs on the north side of Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the walkway connecting Pyrmont Bridge to King Street, you'd see how much easier it is in Canberra.

And then, there's bike racks on buses, bike parking—not that all of them are top class, but they are there. You can sort of tell that some infrastructure have a half-hearted design e.g. the ending of the route at the Arboretum, the ending of the route at Canberra Airport. Bike lockers…

fatdudeonabike wrote:- Drivers hate us. I never noticed this before. I just thought they were crap drivers. They're not, they're vitriolic.
- Pedestrians hate us. Even on the most obvious of truly shared paths, such as around the lakes, we're treated like we're out to kill every child dumb enough to go for a walk.


I've lived here for 2+ years now, and haven't noticed either of this to be the case. a. prove it. b. IMO the hyperbole is unhelpful.

I'm a car driver, and so is my wife. We vitriolic? I'm a pedestrian…

fatdudeonabike wrote:I'll keep this short (unlike me...)

How did Canberra get this reputation? Is it just because other cities are horrible for cycling?


Yes, and probably because it's a smaller, richer, place. Because there's only 1 level of government (unlike state government/council elsewhere). And because a relatively high percentage of the population are part of the local bicycle group (about 1%, from memory). I think all these have positive feedback loops.


Also, car volume. Percentage-wise, Canberra is a typical Australian city: very car dependent. But not in terms of absolute numbers. e.g. the route to Tidbinbilla, or to Lake George. If this was Sydney, there'd be far more cars traveling along that route, making it much less pleasant.

fatdudeonabike wrote:- Canberra isn't at all flat! Driving around I always thought it was... it's not!


Yea, well. It's not Melbourne. But neither is San Fran. Canberra isn't the Copenhagen of Australia, but it's pretty damn good. And I haven't even mentioned mountain bike trails.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:20 pm
by Howzat
Well said x8pg2qr. Cars rule here due to the expansive layout of the city, but Canberrans are also quite into bikes, if only to do the downhill MTB trails on Mt Stromlo.

A couple of other positives for Canberra cycling...

- bikes are allowed on footpaths here, which is great for beginning riders who are not confident on the roads, as well as the kids.

- the "Fix My Street" service is pretty responsive to filling potholes and fixing other road hazards that may affect bikes more than cars. They fix bike paths as well.

It's not a paradise; there is plenty of room for improvement. But on balance we can't complain.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:40 pm
by petie
I grew up riding in Sydney and rode to schoo land then uni most days. Then I moved to Canberra. There is no comparison in any aspect of the cycling experience. Canberra is better without even turning up.

As for all of Australia, i'm about to leave on an around Australia trip. I'll tell you if it's the best in all of Australia when i get back :lol:

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:46 pm
by cp123
I've ridden in Canberra for about 30 years and another few in Melb. I was/am confident riding on the streets in both cities.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:54 am
by 1st XV
Having lived in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast and currently Canberra, this is easily the best place ive ever lived for both recreational and commuting road riding....(not to mention MTB).

Always room for improvement, but sometimes you need to experience other places to appreciate what we have here....

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:53 pm
by DaSchmooze
Yeah Canberra kicks Sydney's arse for bicycle tolerance and infrastructure. Bike paths linking every suburb to every other suburb, both on and off road paths and all in pretty good condition.

I rode from Gungahlin to stomlo via belconen and back all on separated bike paths keeping me away from traffic (of which there was none anyway).

I love riding in Canberra and intentionally go down there just to do it.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:39 pm
by Chris249
We moved from inner-western Sydney to Ainslie a few months ago. We both commute each day and cannot believe how much better the attitude to cycling is. The cycleways are amazing, the motorists are courteous the vast majority of the time, much of the area is flat but you have some great climbs.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:39 pm
by Chris249
We moved from inner-western Sydney to Ainslie a few months ago. We both commute each day and cannot believe how much better the attitude to cycling is. The cycleways are amazing, the motorists are courteous the vast majority of the time, much of the area is flat but you have some great climbs.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:02 pm
by Xenon
fatdudeonabike wrote:- Drivers hate us. I never noticed this before. I just thought they were crap drivers. They're not, they're vitriolic.


You need to get a recumbent trike; I'm not sure if motorists think I'm disabled or what, but they are so friendly that it's not funny. I honestly can't remember the last time a car passed me with less than 2m clearance.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Fri May 03, 2013 1:15 pm
by twizzle
Chris249 wrote:We moved from inner-western Sydney to Ainslie a few months ago. We both commute each day and cannot believe how much better the attitude to cycling is. The cycleways are amazing, the motorists are courteous the vast majority of the time, much of the area is flat but you have some great climbs.


Beware the omnibus. You have been warned... :P

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Fri May 03, 2013 1:16 pm
by twizzle
Xenon wrote:
fatdudeonabike wrote:- Drivers hate us. I never noticed this before. I just thought they were crap drivers. They're not, they're vitriolic.


You need to get a recumbent trike; I'm not sure if motorists think I'm disabled or what, but they are so friendly that it's not funny. I honestly can't remember the last time a car passed me with less than 2m clearance.


Tell that to the guy with the 'cumbent who I see on Northbourne occasionally. His gonads must be huge compared to mine.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 12:34 pm
by cp123
unfortunately i heard that the recumbant dude who got run over by the Aust Post van on Anzac Ave a while back is still pretty broken up. literally...

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:39 pm
by twizzle
cp123 wrote:unfortunately i heard that the recumbant dude who got run over by the Aust Post van on Anzac Ave a while back is still pretty broken up. literally...


Do tell.

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Wed May 15, 2013 4:21 pm
by wombat 23
No I spoke to him just then. Still doing physio, but back on the bike

Re: Canberra - Australia's most cycle friendly city?

Posted: Wed May 15, 2013 4:59 pm
by thecaptn
I've travelled to Canberra a number of times specificaly to ride, I think it's great. I've found that people who have lived there a long time can be critical of the drivers but I think it's all relative.