Bicycle Network: Support & Promote
Promoting cycling: Maps & events
Bike maps can be one way to promote cycling by informing people of places to ride
How to encourage people to leave their cars at home and get on their bikes
Safe and comfortable places to ride
The most important thing local councils can do to encourage people to ride bikes is to give them somewhere to ride where they feel safe and comfortable.
That means building an integrated network of bike routes with good quality shared paths, bike lanes on roads and traffic-calmed local streets.
A good bicycle network allows people to make meaningful journeys to shops, schools, workplaces, recreation centres and parks.
Without a network of connected bike lanes and paths it is difficult to convince people that it is easy, comfortable and safe to travel by bike.
Bike lanes provide a designated space for cyclists, which offers a level of separation from faster moving motor vehicle traffic and gives bikes a visible presence on the roads.
Marked bike lanes on main roads and local streets will do more for getting people on their bikes than other forms of promotion such as brochures, signs and maps. For example, prior to bike lanes being marked on St Kilda Rd, only 40 cyclists per hour used the route into the city during the morning peak.
With the installation of bike lanes that number has increased to 400 cyclists per hour in the morning peak in 2002. The installation of the bike lanes has also made the route safer, with a much lower percentage of reported bike crashes.
Many local councils produce maps to encourage cycling in their municipalities but they are often ineffective because:
Lack of facilities. There are few bike lanes and paths to include on the map, which highlights the lack of facilities for cyclists.
Lack of detail. Often surrounding roads are not shown, destinations such as shopping centres are omitted and the map is hand drawn and not to scale which makes it difficult to navigate by.
Too much detail. Other information such as public transport routes for trams, trains and buses and the use of multiple colours and symbols makes it difficult to read.
Scale too small. An average cyclist can comfortably cover 5kms in 15 minutes, usually taking them beyond the boundaries of the map and into the next municipality.
Inconsistent format. Each municipality produces it’s own style of map using different colours and symbols, different scale and varied format which makes it difficult to read the map or use two maps in conjunction.
To maximise the benefit of producing a bike map councils need to:
- Build bike lanes and paths to put on the map
- Work with surrounding councils to produce a map of a wider area
- Use cartographers from mapping companies rather than designers.
Bike maps can be one way to promote cycling by informing people of places to ride. There are different types of bike maps.
Municipal bike maps
Municpal bike maps usually include bike lanes, off-road paths, quiet local routes and destinations such as shops, schools, community facilities, parks, libraries and train stations. See link (right) for suggestions for the ideal bike map.
Metropolitan trail maps
Metroplitan trail maps will usually profile an arterial trail. They often cover several council areas and should include surrounding streets and suburbs, places of interest along the trail, facilities such as toilets, bbq facilities and drinking fountains, nearby train stations and feeder trails.
Regional rail trail maps
They are useful for promoting trails and can be distributed through tourism information centres. They usually include a map of trail with links to towns along it, accommodation information, cafes, pubs, wineries, bike shops and car parks.
Councils can organise community events that encourage people to ride their bikes for recreation, such as an organised ride along a shared path and picnic in the park. To encourage people to use their bikes as transport to shops or train stations, tapping into existing cycling events such as Ride to Work Day is a good way to do this.
But most importantly, good quality facilities need to be in place so that people aren’t discouraged by unfriendly traffic conditions and continue to ride their bikes.