CYCLING in Civic has almost doubled in nine years, new figures show, but the numbers are falling short of the ACT government's targets for bike commuting.
A small army of clipboard-carrying volunteers from lobby group Pedal Power for the first time counted 3000 cyclists in the city on one day in March.
Pedal Power spokesman Matt Larkin said there have been 10 per cent rises in each year of the survey.
''Interestingly, some of our counters also remarked on an increased percentage of people riding in work or non-cycling clothes rather than Lycra,'' Mr Larkin said.
''This could be an indication that cycling is being chosen specifically as an easy, effective mode of transport, not simply for its health and recreational benefits.
''It could also suggest shorter trips or inadequate change facilities in the workplace.''
He said building much of the Civic Cycle Loop, improving signs on shared paths and the Ride to School program were all great initiatives by the ACT government but more needed to be done.
''Without a significant change of gear [the ACT government is] not going to get close to achieving their own targets.''
Pedal Power said separate 2011 census data showed 2.8 per cent of journeys to work in the ACT were made by bicycle.
Mr Larkin said that at current rates the ACT government's target of 6 per cent of journeys being made by bicycle by 2016 would take until 2071 to hit.
''Doubling the number of people riding to work in three years cannot be achieved without serious commitment and investment,'' Mr Larkin said.
He said Canberra was already falling behind other Australian capitals and was second-lowest among the mainland capitals in terms of dollars spent per person on cycling.
A spokesman for Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said Canberra had the highest rate of walking and cycling of any eastern capital, and as proof cited a report by the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
''The ACT government has committed to $700,000 for new bike and ride facilities and infrastructure over the next three years,'' the spokesman said.
''[Another] $3 million per year is invested in new cycling paths and $4 million per year on maintenance and upgrades.
''The significant increase in cycling rates over the past decade is vindication of the Labor government's policies to invest in better cycling infrastructure and planning policies to support active travel choices.''
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