The Australian Pop-up Bike Lane League

June 15 2020

Much like the Pies and Tiges in the first AFL match of round two, we have a tie at the top of the table in the APBL – following the announcement of Melbourne fast-tracking 40 kilometres of bike lanes. Learn more in the play-by-play below.

The Australian Pop-up Bike Lane League

The return of footy to our screens may have overshadowed an exciting new national competition: the Australian Pop-Up Bike Lane League (APBL).

In its inaugural year, the APBL popped-up (excuse the pun) following the lead from other countries around the world as a response to the coronavirus lockdown.

The hope for the league was that Australia—like France, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark, Colombia and the United States, just to name a few—would take note of the spike in bike riding as a healthy and safe mode of transport and create more places for people to ride bikes.

But after a promising start to the season, the league seems to have fizzled. You can catch up with the current APBL ladder below.

APBL ladder

1 (tie) The Sydneysiders 4
1 (tie) The Melbourne-Knights 4
3 The Brislanders 2
4 The Taswegians 0
5 The Croweaters 0
6 The Sandgropers 0
7 The Big V 0
8 The Feds 0


Season play-by-play

captained by sally capp

The Melbourne-Knights

Odds-on favourite The Melbourne-Knights were the first to make the move in season 2020, with Captain Capp announcing on May 7 their plans to repurpose some on-street parking and create 12 kilometres of pop-up bike lanes for people to travel safely in the city centre as restrictions start to ease.

At the time Capp said that “we have a responsibility to provide more space” and “need to take back some of our on-street parking to accommodate wider footpaths and bike lanes.”

With rider numbers during COVID-19 lockdown increasing by nearly 300 per cent in some areas of Melbourne, it is hoped the new infrastructure could encourage people to permanently switch their mode of transport.

The exact locations were and are still undecided.

With little-to-no support from ally Dan Andrews of the Big V, unfortunately we haven’t heard much from the Melbourne-Knights since, dropping them to second place on the ladder.

UPDATE, June 15 2020

Captain Sally Capp has announced a massive boost for the Melbourne-Knights with 40km of bike lanes being fast-racked to provide more space for people to ride and aid the pandemic recovery.  

Leading by example, Capp said "I look forward to seeing lots of Melburnians enjoying our city on bikes – as I do – especially those who've taken up riding as a way to stay fit and healthy during the pandemic." Read the full story here.

These will be built in two stages, with the first 20 kilometres delivered in 2020-21, through a $16 million investment.

While these announcements put Melbourne in the prime position to take out the championship, league officials have them tied with The Sydneysiders, who've already started construction on their much needed pop-up lanes.

We look forward to seeing some action!

co-captained by by Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore

The Sydneysiders

Not to be outdone by their rivals in Melbourne, Sydney sprang into action on May 18, announcing their plans for six temporary bike lanes (more than 10 kilometers) to be installed in key commuter areas, giving people an easy alternative to public transport which will be running at reduced capacity to help people maintain physical distancing.

In a pre-season statement, Mr Constance said “we are already seeing our public transport system at capacity during peak periods with the need to physical distance and we want to offer the community more options to make their journeys safer.”

And acknowledged his co-captain by stating “we’ve been working closely with City of Sydney Council to identify key public spaces that could be freed up for cycling paths and prioritising pedestrians and cyclists to ensure safety.”

You can read more about their game plane here.

With clear and confirmed plans of action, Sydney jumped to the top of the ladder.

Sydney and Melbourne have had a crack at the APBL scoreboard.

Led by the new Active Transport Advisory Committee (ATAC)

The Brislanders

Much like the forming of the Lions in ’96, the "Brislanders" are the result of a two team merger — Brisbane City Council and the Queensland state government — who formed a new advisory committee to address missing links in Brisbane’s bikeways.

Aiming to connect Brisbane’s bike ways, it’s hoped that the new leadership team will also strengthen the connection between the council and state bikeway planning, which Transport Minister Mark Bailey admits has not been particularly well coordinated in the past.

On 16 June, while announcing the City Council's budget, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said that pop-up bike lanes are being planned with help from the state government

This commitment is enough to claim third spot on the APBL ladder.

Wooden spooners

The rest...

Despite growing campaigns from local and national bike advocacy and transport groups—including Bicycle Network’s ‘Pedalling to a better normal: a plan to ride out of COVID-19—there has been no action from anyone else in the league, notably including:

The Taswegians, captained by Peter Gutwein – still awaiting first move.*

*Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said she would be in support of pop-up bike lanes, “we’re just in the early stages of thinking about our (coronavirus) recovery plan.”

The Croweaters, captained by Steven Marshall – still awaiting first move.*

*City of Adelaide councillor Robert Simms proposed trialing some pop-up lanes to help settle the debate over the long-awaited east-west bikeway though the CBD.

The Sandgropers, captained by Mark McGowan – still awaiting first move.*

*The Space for Health Perth community coalition proposed pop-up bike lanes on the Causeway and Riverside Drive to reduce congestion. City of Perth chair commissioner Andrew Hammond said the City would develop a masterplan for the foreshore area in the next financial year.

The Big V, captained by Daniel Andrews – still awaiting first move.

The Feds, captained by Scott Morrison – still awaiting first move.

Bicycle Network urges these teams and all other potential players in the APBL to read our Pedalling to a better normal campaign to help kick off their season.

This recommends a $904 million bike stimulus package that would use pedal power to safeguard our health, create jobs and boost our economy as we work our way out of the COVID-19 crisis.

You can read the game plan here.

Let’s hope that like the AFL and NRL we will see some action in this league in 2020.

Watch this space for updates as the season progresses.