Living close to a separated cycleway not only encourages people to ride more, it also fosters more pleasant experience of our communities, an Australian study has found.
Published in the Journal of Transport and Health, the study set out to evaluate the travel and health outcomes in relation to new protected bicycle infrastructure in Sydney.
Specifically, it examined the impact of a 2.4km bi-directional protected cycleway that was built through Sydney's inner city suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo and opended in June 2015.
While the recent cycling participation survey and bike counts show that bike riding has been declining across Sydney, the results from data collected near a new cycleway, indicated growth.
An increase in bicycle trips was also observed among those living between one and three kilometres from the cycleway, possibly suggesting that people are going out of their way to use the new separated infrastructure.
It’s in these instances of growth that researchers saw a positive association between building more protected bike lanes and encouraging more locals to ride.
In addition to recording more trips by bicycle each week, study participants also said that their neighbourhoods were four times more pleasant since a cycleway was put in a year ago.
These findings are consistent with studies from across the world and support a public policy to encourage investment in separated and protected bicycle infrastructure from all levels of government across New South Wales.
This research also adds further weight to what we already know, when you build more places for people to ride, you build happier, healthier and more liveable communities.