The latest count of people riding bikes on Melbourne trails has confirmed what we've all been suspecting – they're bursting at the seams as people ride to escape the stresses of coronavirus restrictions.
A special Super Count by Bicycle Network on 25 April showed that bike rider numbers have increased by hundreds on numerous different off-road paths.
The Gardiners Creek Trail, Capital City Trail, Merri Creek Trail, Bay Trail and more had bike rider numbers compared with those from a Super Sunday recreational count conducted on 10 November 2019.
During a two hour block, 911 bike riders were counted on the Gardiners Creek Trail near High Street in Glen Iris – up from 231 in the Super Sunday count. Bike riders made up 65% of all trail users, up from 49% in the Super Sunday count.
At the Maribyrnong River Trail near Aberfeldie Park a total of 299 bike riders were counted, making up 27% of all trail users. This was up from 71 and 9% on Super Sunday.
It was the same story across all the trails that were counted – not only an increase in the number of trail users, with the biggest growth was among those riding bikes.
And it's not just blokes wearing lycra who are on their bikes, counters saw people of all ages and abilities going for a ride.
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The count on 25 April was just one of three special Super counts conducted by Bicycle Network recently, with a full report available here.
The counts show it's vital that we take this golden opportunity to make Melbourne and Australia a leading bike city.
To make sure that people who have recently take up bike riding keep on bike riding we need to create more bike lanes and comfortable places to ride.
Some trails are at capacity and can be difficult to keep 1.5 metres from other people, while not everyone currently has access to a separated bike route leading to the city. It's important that people choose their bike instead of a car when work goes back but they can't take the train.
Bicycle Network would like to see local and state governments work quickly to create more safe places to ride by installing pop-up bike lanes, reducing speed limits on some streets and prioritising bike riding and walking.
Bicycle Network is also offering our count service to local councils and state government departments who are keen to get real data (and quickly) on recreational path and trail uses. We are nimble and can mobilise 30+ volunteers in a day if necessary. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.See our campaign
To measure the growth in bike riding during COVID-19 restrictions, Bicycle Network counted people riding bikes on 13 trails in Melbourne between 11:00am and 1:00pm on Saturday 25 April 2020.
Data from eight trails was then compared with that from Bicycle Network’s annual Super Sunday count conducted on Sunday 10 November 2019. Six of the trails were not included in the Super Sunday count so did not have data to compare growth.
Bike riders were visually counted by Bicycle Network team members.
- Gardiners Creek Trail – 911 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (294% increase)
- Maribyrnong River Trail – 299 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (321% increase)
- Capital City Trail – 703 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (221% increase)
- Moonee Ponds Creek Trail – 411 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (303% increase)
- Merri Creek Trail – 626 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (192% increase)
- Koonung Creek Trail – 455 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (138% increase)
- Anniversary Trail – 417 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (346% increase)
- Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail – 531 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020 (778% increase)
- Main Yarra Trail – 673 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020*
- Bay Trail – 942 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020*
- Kerferd Road – 1558 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020*
- Capital City Trail – 1158 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020*
- Djerring Trail – 143 bike riders counted on 25 April 2020*
*not counted in 2019
This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.