ACT's first bike barometer proves Canberra is on its way to be the cycling capital of Australia
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ACT's first bike barometer proves Canberra is on its way to be the cycling capital of Australia

The ACT's first bike barometer has proved what Canberrans already know - Canberra is on its way to be the cycling capital of Australia.

The barometer, an electronic counter that measures cyclist numbers daily, was installed in O'Connor in November last year on Sullivan's Creek Trail at Macarthur Avenue, one of the busiest cycle paths in the ACT.

Ian Ross from Pedal Power ACT with the bike barometer in O'Connor. The barometer has proven Canberra to be the cycling capital of Australia.

Ian Ross from Pedal Power ACT with the bike barometer in O'Connor. The barometer has proven Canberra to be the cycling capital of Australia. Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

A total of 56,738 cyclists were counted during the short period between November 23 last year and January 18, 2018. So far, the busiest day was on a Monday, January 15 with 2023 cyclists counted.

Minister for transport and city services Meegan Fitzharris said the government was committed to making Canberra the cycling capital of Australia by delivering better walking and cycling options as part of its integrated transport network.

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"The bike barometer in O'Connor shows that a large number of cyclists are using this fantastic trail," Ms Fitzharris said. "It helps create a sense of community among those who cycle."

The first bike barometer was installed in Denmark in 2002. In Australia, Melbourne and Brisbane have also adopted the technology.

Data collected will help the government plan future infrastructure requirements.

"The ACT government is encouraging cycling in Canberra with projects like the Belconnen Bikeway, which when complete will provide cyclists with a purpose built bikeway, separated from traffic and pedestrians, to connect the whole Belconnen town centre and our education institutions in Bruce," she said.

Ms Fitzharris said in addition to providing Canberrans with improved cycling trails, the ACT government was also making it easier for people to leave their cars at home and cycle to work with the introduction of new park and pedal facilities around the city.

Pedal Power ACT executive officer Ian Ross said the bike barometer was a great way of profiling cycling in capital and it would provide "valuable data about how many people were using key routes and longer term usage trends that can be used to plan for future cycle facilities."

"We know that the provision of good quality off-road cycle paths is critical in encouraging more people to choose cycling as a transport option," Mr Ross said.

"The results of the bike barometer show just how many people use the Sullivan's Creek path, one of Canberra's most popular off-road cycle routes.

"I'm sure a lot of people would be surprised to see how high the numbers are, even during the quiet holiday period."

Mr Ross said the organisation would like to see more barometers installed at key points around the city, such as Commonwealth Ave Bridge.

"I expect that Monday 15 was the busiest day because so many Canberrans were returning to work. It's great to see so many people starting their working year with a cycle commute.

He said investing in off cycle facilities and measuring the use was important so the government's target of seven per cent of all travel in the ACT to be by cycle by 2026 was successful.

Ms Fitzharris said the installation was one of the latest initiative the ACT government had developed to encourage more active travel in the nation's capital.

"With Park and Pedal, commuters can park their car for free at a number of locations around Canberra, and cycle the rest of the way in to work," she said.

"Park and Pedal in Canberra is an Australian first, and is an important part of the ACT government's commitment to keep people healthy and active, and build an integrated transport network."ā€‹

Han Nguyen reports on property for The Canberra Times. She joined the Times in 2017 after working as a breaking news reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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