Proceedings of the fourth Australian cycling conference 2012

The fourth Australian Cycling Conference was held in Adelaide in January 2012. The organising committee, Australian Cycling Conference Incorporated have kindly released the full conference proceedings which includes full copies of the papers presented to the conference.

Australian Cycling Conference

There where fourteen papers presented at the Australian Cycling Conference. The papers fall into the following broad categories: cyclist and pedestrian interaction (one paper); participation in cycling (eight papers); and road design and cycling infrastructure (five papers).

Of the papers presented at the Australian Cycling Conference four in particular grabbed my attention. These where the papers by Cumming (2012) on roundabout designs, McDonald (2012) on just how much space to cars really need; Kotsoglo (2012) a Western Australian paper examining the potential of moisturising cycling infrastructure and Puniard (2012) who takes a look at cycle tourists and choice of mapping programs.  The papers and their abstracts are listed below. The full copies of the papers can be download (PDF). Other related research is also available.

Australian Cycling Conference papers

Cyclist and pedestrian interaction

Upton, J. (2012, January). “Can cyclists and pedestrians get along?” How to effectively engage with specific groups of cyclists in order to develop better coexistence between cyclists and pedestrians on shared paths. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Upton (2012) is:

This empirical research was conducted in April 2011 by BikeWise and the City of Sydney as part of the City‘s coexistence campaign between cyclists and pedestrians on shared paths. The City identified a particular group of cyclists as not only hard to reach but also key perpetrators of poor conduct on shared paths. The research sought to explore the world of this group of cyclists in order to understand how to effectively engage with them.

The research methodology used a qualitative approach enabling a discursive exploration of the attitudes, perceptions and opportunities for these cyclists. Two 2-hour mini-group discussions were conducted; one group of ‗club riders‘ (cyclists affiliated to a cycling club), one group of ‘training riders‘ (cyclists with no official club affiliation).

The findings revealed some key opportunities for the City to work more closely with these cyclists. In particular, this club and training cyclists identify themselves as different and do not relate nor associate with ‗other types‘ of cyclists (e.g. commuters, riding for transport), thus communications which reference ‗other cyclists‘ are rarely effective. Although this group of cyclists support the broad goals of ‘more people cycling‘ and the co-existence philosophy, they perceive nothing in the City‘s 2030 plan that benefits them and feel largely ignored by the City‘s communication and infrastructure investments. The absence of a meaningful relationship between this group and the City is at the heart of enabling effective engagement.

Participation in Cycling

Bauman, A., Meron, D. & Rissel, C. (2012, January). “Where have all the bicycles gone?” Are bicycle sales in Australia translated into health-enhancing levels of bicycle usage? Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

Due to restrictions imposed by the Elsevier there is no copy of this paper.

Berridge, G. (2012, January). The impact of the 2007 Tour de France Grand Depart on cycling in London: a review of social and cultural legacy. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Berridge (2012) is:

The impacts of events, both positive and negative, is recognized as occurring in several ways, notably through economic, political, social, environmental and cultural impacts (Bowdin et al, 2010). What is less clear from research is how a host city uses an event strategically to act as a catalyst for urban socio-cultural change, since many events have limited and intangible impact beyond the immediate aftermath of their occurrence. Drawing on a range of secondary material and using five key indicators for successful social and cultural impact (Wood and Thomas, 2006) the paper demonstrates that the bidding, organisation and delivery of the Tour de France Grand Depart was not undertaken in isolation but was contained within a broader strategy to promote and develop cycling in London. The paper documents and charts a series of key initiatives from up to 2011 that have enabled London to make significant interventions in terms of cycling provision and participation. It suggests that the host organisation Transport for London, working under the auspices of the Mayor for London, have implemented a series of post-event initiatives to develop provision and have thus deflected what Chalip (2004) suggests is common of such events: that only immediate benefit accrues with no significant legacy.

Chidoka, O. (2012, January). Cycling as an urban transport solution: Federal Road Safety Corps efforts in Nigeria. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Chidoka (2012) is:

Nigeria‘s Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) paper is intended to:

  1. give participants the basic benefits in cycling as means of urban transport from Nigeria’s
  2. perspective;
  3. help participants appreciate the efforts of FRSC in marking acceptable and Nigeria‘s urban
  4. centers cycling friendly;
  5. invite willing partners to join forces with us in this project.
  6. The context for cycling in Nigeria up to the present is that:
  7. it is a means of transportation in rural areas from the time of early civilisation. Our parents still
  8. use them in the villages today;
  9. those who use them did so basically out of necessity rather than a choice for any other
  10. purpose, except for those using it for athletics.

When properly planned, it is a convenient means of transport with the lowest cost, for exercising, with no pollution and no traffic jam.

Gordon, G. & Parkin, J. (2012, January). Identifying distinct cycle route typologies from single point bicycle counts. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Gordon & Parkin (2012) is as follows:

Accurate estimation of bicycle traffic volumes and trends is important in transport monitoring and planning. Nationally, the UK government measures levels of cycling activity from information collected through the National Travel Survey (NTS), and from counts which form the National Road Traffic Estimates (NRTE). The Department for Transport has been concerned about monitoring mechanisms for some time and accepts that surveys tend to under-record the level of cycling activity and that the incomplete coverage of surveying of traffic on minor roads and lack of coverage on motor traffic-free routes leads to an under-reporting of cycle use.

The establishment of patterns of cycling for different route types will help in understanding the variability in cycling. Current methods of analysis used for traffic counts are not sufficiently well disaggregated by route type to provide robust estimates for cycle traffic.

This paper investigates available cycle count data from Sustrans, a UK sustainable transport charity, and presents a range of route typologies for cycle traffic based on an analysis of patterns of use by season, day of week, and time of day.

Kretschmer, R. (2012, January). Spatial representations of walking and cycling catchments: adding meaning through local participation. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Kretschmer (2012) is:

In late 2010 Plan B, La Trobe University Student Planners‘ Association, produced ‘Zone B‘ (see, a walking, cycling and public transport catchment map resource for the city of Bendigo, Victoria. The resource adds context to conventional sustainable and active catchment mapping through community participation, local experience and knowledge.

Plan B has reviewed a selection of existing sustainable transport catchment-based behaviour change map resources and literature. Catchments are typically generated through desktop assessments using simplified, geometric distance-based formulae. This method can lack real meaning and local context, such as local knowledge of shortcuts or physical barriers such as terrain or suitable paths, and is potentially counterproductive.

The project brings together community participation and local knowledge to spatially represent contextual walking and cycling catchments that reflect local conditions. A grant has enabled the group to develop an online video and toolkit that provides community groups and local government with a participative model for engaging their communities with active and sustainable transport behaviour change. The toolkit is innovative and flexible, allowing communities to share results and engage with sustainable and/or active transport in a manner that reflects and is responsive to the local community.  Communities can also use the toolkit to support advocacy to government in the development of walk and cycle supportive environments.

Lumb, P. (2012, January). Cycling, walking and biodiversity: Occupying urban landscapes. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Lumb (2012) is:

This paper notes that in urban Adelaide cycling has to some extent succeeded in occupying the landscape. On-road cycle ways are commonplace, shared use paths edging new major road infrastructure along freeways and expressways have become standard, and disused rail corridors are being occupied for cycling and walking. Australian and South Australian policy developments provide additional opportunities for walking and cycling infrastructure and that is to further occupy a growing number of ‘greenways‘.

The 30-Year Plan for Greater Adelaide was published in February 2010. It posits a ‗new urban form‘.  This will accommodate an expected 350 additional residents per week in ‗greater Adelaide‘ for 30 years, and increase density ‗from 8-11 dwellings per hectare…to closer to the international standard for sustainable densities…of 35 dwellings per hectare‘18 : 2010) Fifteen transit oriented developments are proposed.

Using phrases drawn from The 30-Year Plan it is clear The Plan‟s aim is to protect existing biodiverse native vegetation but also importantly to maintain and improve natural resources: to restore water courses; to adopt water sensitive urban design principles; to provide green buffers which provide visual contrast, to cool, and mitigate urban heat island effects and climate change; to use indigenous species and to increase the extent of functional ecosystems. In and through this new urban ecological form The Plan aims to provide a foundation for a network of connected open spaces

… to provide ‘greenways‘ through which pedestrians and cyclists can travel. Biodiversity and walking and cycling infrastructure are able to be built together. Further South Australian impetus was given to cycling when in September 2011, a new Target ‘Double the number of people cycling in South Australia by 2020‘ was added to the Health targets of the South Australia Strategic Plan (SASP).

Since February 2010, potential impetus has been given to the spread of pedestrian and cycling paths through greenways, due to the introduction of the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative [CFI]) Bill, and the proposed Biodiversity Fund of $946 million over six years as part of the Clean Energy Future policy by the Australian Labor-Gillard government. This legislation and policy potentially provide significant new funding sources for continuing pathways‘ occupation of greenways.

It is argued in this paper that The Plan, the SASP, the Bill (CFI) and the Policy (CEF) provide impetus for building in walking and cycling infrastructure to the growing biodiverse green infrastructure to become greenways. Three major urban Adelaide projects are suggested as examples which meet a range of criteria required by The Plan, the CFI Bill and the Biodiversity Fund.

This paper sets out policy developments and discusses the politics required to optimise emerging opportunities for this kind of green infrastructure. This will involve pedestrian and cycling planners and advocates working with diverse others in greater Adelaide in a context where there are more people, more homes, and more pedestrian activity and cycleways, more biodiversity and global warming. This is a complex political and administrative context but one with considerable emerging possibilities for occupying new landscapes for walking and cycling while creating cycling infrastructure of a higher order than now exists.

…landscape restoration is critical for the conservation of biodiversity, the maintenance of ecosystem services and the mitigation of climate change and needs to become the core business of landscape ecology and landscape and urban planning in the 21 st century (Seabrook et al 2011: 409)

Patterson, F. & Radbone, I. (2012, January). Adelaide City Bikes – an alternative public bike model? The potential is exponential: Incentivising provision of cycling facilities. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Patterson & Radbone (2012) is as follows:

Public bicycle hire schemes have evolved since they were first adopted over thirty years ago. They have grown in terms of popularity, sophistication and expense. New technologies have helped to overcome problems that plagued earlier schemes. An essential feature of most modern schemes is that bikes can be hired from many locations, which are unstaffed.

Adelaide City Council established Australia‘s first public bicycle hire scheme in 2005, with 70 bikes that could be hired from the office of BikeSA. The scheme has since grown steadily. In 2010-2011 thescheme involved 16,400 hires from seven nodes, using at least 150 bikes. Adelaide City Bikes is still
small compared with more well-known bike hire schemes, and is limited in that the bicycle must bereturned to the location from which it was hired and nodes themselves must be staffed. Nevertheless it is relatively cheap and has overcome some of the problems faced by bike hire schemes adopted in Melbourne and Brisbane.

The question remains as to whether the Adelaide City Bike scheme can continue to grow incrementally or whether at some point the Council will need to abandon the model for the self-service approach used in other cities.

Puniard, D. (2012, January). Maps for Australian cycle tourists in the online world: who uses them and what content are they looking for? Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Puniard (2012) is:

Many cyclists are making increasing use of mobile communication and navigation devices to plan and record their cycling activity. A number of web mapping tools, such as MapMyRide and Bikely, provide features that were difficult for cyclists to access before the emergence of the social web 2.0. It is possible now with mobile applications to plan rides using online maps, record them on a mobile phone or GPS unit on a ride, share routes with other cyclists and keep a log of all rides, routes, distances and elevation profiles. This paper reports on recent research at the University of Canberra that has explored the use of online technologies by cycle tourists in Australia. The paper briefly explores the definition and scope of cycle tourism and then goes on to identify the online aids that cycle tourists are using and what content they are seeking from these sources, particularly online maps. A total of 671 cyclists responded to an online survey in which they were asked to identify the mapping tools they use and what content they were seeking. This paper reports on the findings of this research, and
identifies some future research opportunities in this space.

Road design and cycling infrastructure

Cumming, B. M. (2012, January). A bicycle friendly roundabout: designing to direct cyclists to ride where drivers look. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Cumming (2012) is as follows:

Roundabouts improve safety by reducing speeds and conflict points, but safety benefits don‘t always extend to cyclists.

Many researchers conclude that cycling on the edge in roundabouts is dangerous; and recommend cycling in the centre of lanes when approaching and negotiating roundabouts.

All crashes occurring at Victorian roundabouts from 2005-2009 are analysed. An entering car striking a circulating cyclist accounts for 82% of crashes involving bicycles and nearly a quarter of all crashes.

Conflict points and conflict paths are considered, comparing cycling in the centre of lanes with cycling along the edge (as a second traffic stream).

Cycling in the middle of the driving lane maximises cyclist visibility to cars, minimises conflict points and reduces likely collision speeds.

The C1 Roundabout is a new single-lane roundabout design concept which provides cues to cyclists to move to the middle of the lane – where drivers are most likely to look. It slows vehicles and aligns them for improved visibility to the right. It is recommended that road authorities review the research about the dangers for cyclists on the edge of roundabouts and revise design guidelines, with circulating bicycle lanes prohibited rather than recommended.

Kotsoglo, P. (2012, January). The potential is exponential: Incentivising provision of cycling facilities. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Kotsoglo (2012) is as follows:

In many parts of Australia and other western countries, we are overly reliant upon the car and we are excessively car orientated. Automobile Politics has been explained in detail by many with Patterson providing an extensive insight.

The paper looks at the planning system and provisions of planning schemes, including those relating to parking and cycling facilities in Western Australia. Whilst it primarily focuses upon the planning system in Western Australia, the aim of the paper is to enhance the integration of the bicycle into our daily travel routine, so it becomes part of our daily life. So that cycling becomes the first real first choice for our short (mechanical) journeys.

The paper looks at the cost of transport (parking) infrastructure, and considers the alternatives available, along with the benefits of broadening the opportunity to choose cycling as an option for the preferred transport mode of choice for the community.

The paper makes recommendations for cycle planning and policy. The paper makes recommendations to alter the orientation of the statutory regime to create an environment where developers and government authorities want to provide cycling facilities. The aim of the paper is to produce an environment which makes it more commercial, or beneficial economically to provide cycling facilities. It is envisaged the recommendations will, in part, make cycling a more attractive transport option, through improving the applicable statutory and financial regimes.

McDonald, A. (2012, January). A car is 1.9m wide. How much extra space does it really need? Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for McDonald (2012) is:

The paper summarises the innovative approach that the City of Yarra has been undertaking in the last decade to implement non-standard facilities in order to improve conditions for cyclists. This has beendone by calming traffic, reallocating roadspace, implementing 40km/hr speed limits on 90% of local
roads and various other non-standard treatments. Together, these measures aim to provide a more conducive environment for cycling.

Yarra has largely ignored the Australian Guidelines by implementing 2.5m wide traffic lane widths, significantly lower than that suggested in the Australian Guidelines. This innovative approach has meant that Yarra has been able to install bicycle lanes, most of which are wider than 1.5m, on approximately 35kms of Yarra‘s streets These changes have been achieved through an incremental implementation of road space reallocation and the use of ‗Yarra Standards‘. While the Australian Guidelines, designed essentially for greenfields sites, state that the minimum width of a traffic lane should be 3.0m, Yarra has typically implemented 2.5-2.8m traffic lanes. This method has allowed Yarra to install wide bicycle lanes while traditional doctrine would dictate that either no bicycle lane or only a narrow bicycle lane could be provided. These works have meant that vehicle tracking has become more consistent, traffic speed lowered and cyclists given more separation thus creating a safer environment for all users.

The roadspace reallocation has been implemented incrementally in the last 10 years whenever a road was relinemarked and has resulted in 6.4% of Yarra residents cycling to work in 2006. As works have been ‗low impact‘ and implemented gradually it has meant that very little consultation has been
required, little parking has been lost and no negative publicity has been received. Due to the high quality facilities in Yarra and the resultant improvements in cyclist numbers, Yarra is now able to start to remove parking to begin the next phase of improving bicycle facilities in Yarra.

McGill, A. & Zwart, J. (2012, January). All things considered: Developing a holistic and all encompassing assessment system for evaluating prospective active transport infrastructure. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for McGill & Zwart (2012) is as follows:

There are many ways to decide if something is worthwhile. You can undertake an intense ‘pros and cons‘ process, you can ask people what they think, you can consider the relative costs, you can even toss a coin! But as the demand for cycling infrastructure increases, governments are finding that determining a robust, efficient and reliable way to ensure that the most worthwhile facilities are delivered has become a challenge. But such a system exists. And not only does it work, but is adaptable and implementable for a range of contexts and needs.

The paper outlines this assessment system, explaining the process undertaken, analysis and outcomes, as well as providing an insight into how the capital works and grants processes in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory have been developed. The assessment system can be applied to other jurisdictions and it is hoped that the knowledge of this assessment system will help start a conversation about the prioritisation of, and investment in, active transport infrastructure.

Patterson, F. (2012, January). What went wrong? A review of Adelaide City Council’s Sturt Street trial. Paper presented at the 4th Australian Cycling Conference 2012, Adelaide, South Australia.

The abstract for Patterson (2012) is:

In 2009, Adelaide City Council began the trial of a separated bicycle lane in Sturt Street, Adelaide – a style of facility often described as a ‘Copenhagen-style‘ bicycle lane. Overseas experience suggests that in order to increase the modal share of cycling to double-digit levels, such separated bicycle facilities are necessary in our cities to address cyclists‘ (and, more specifically, non-cyclists‘) safety concerns. However, the trial was deemed a failure and the separated bicycle lane abandoned after less than 9 months of the 12-month trial period.

This failure has been noted amongst other jurisdictions also considering separated bicycle lanes, and raises questions for those intending to implement similar treatments as part of creating cities for cycling.

So, what went wrong? Is it, as suggested by one Councillor, that the attitudes and culture of South Australians are just too different to those of Europeans? Or were there other factors at work? This paper, based on one presented at the AITPM National Conference in 2011, looks at publicly available evidence to critically examine the Sturt Street separated bicycle lane experience. This review indicates systemic failure in the trial process and provides pointers to avoiding the headwinds that were encountered by the Sturt Street trial.

Your Turn To Talk

I hope you liked this post! Please do stop by the comment section below and share your thoughts on the papers presented at the Australian Cycling Conference with the rest of us.

Have any of the papers caught your interest? Do you agree with the author’s conclusions? Is research a waste of time or does it promote cycling; safer cycling? Please do share your thoughts by leaving a comment below 🙂

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