If you are a cyclist in Sydney currently the situation is looking a little dire. North Sydney Council is holding off upgrading the very well used St Leonards Park path with pedestrians there being assaulted by cyclists and Leichhardt Council is cutting $400,000 from their cycling budget!
Let’s start with the situation in North Sydney….
Most of the uproar for North Sydney cyclists seemed to start back in March when the Council deferred the upgrade to the shared use path through St Leonards Park. Proposed work included widening the path, relocating lights and asphalt re-surfacing.
Around that time too, the Daily Telegraph (who are so pro cycling – not), ran a story about an aggressive cyclist assaulting a pedestrian by shoving them to the ground in this very park.
On 8 April, North Sydney Council accepted a petition from 80 people “opposing bicycles being allowed to use St Leonards Park, except when used for leisure”.
And then the Mayor of North Sydney comes out and says cyclists should use the road instead of shared paths!
St Leonards Park is a key connector for cyclists seeking to get off the very busy and dangerous Miller St and join up with the Willoughby to Epping Road Cycleway cycle path network, or the Mosman-Beauty Point backstreets route to the Northern Beaches.
Interestingly 80 people opposed cycling on this path, yet a petition set up by Bike North has attracted more than 1,000 responses supporting the upgrade of this very path for cycling.
Support Bike North’s petition to upgrade the shared path through St Leonards Park, here:
Currently the project to upgrade the path is on hold pending the outcomes of a bike strategy review.
Certainly not all cyclists are bad and not all cyclists are aggressive and go around pushing pedestrians over. However, I have witnessed a few Sydney cyclists struggling with the concept of ‘shared’ path – yes I mean sharing. Sharing the path with pedestrians means you cannot ride flat out and there will be other users there.
Centennial Park enjoyed trying to explain this recently when they considered introducing speed bumps into the park, to slow down cyclists and protect children and parents crossing Grand Drive to use the kids cycling area.
Cyclists were up in arms immediately. And true, Centennial Park is one of the few safe areas to cycle in Sydney yet it’s also a park used by walkers, runners, dogs, horse, rollerbladers, kids, just to name a few. However you could also argue that the speed bumps would then make it dangerous for cyclists?
Centennial Park have responded with a love the park, share the park campaign – it advocates cyclists only ride to a maximum of 30km/hour. We all know that rule is broken quite often….
Centennial Park is basically my backyard – I am a resident, I cycle there, I run there, I take small children there, I walk a dog there. So I could see all sides. It’s a tough one –Should cyclists have to share the park with other users and reduce their speed? How do you please all Park users?
I cannot answer that question, as I’m still trying to understand how Leichhardt Council can issue its budget for the next year and remove $400,000 from the cycling budget!
Leichhardt Council has a good reputation for its 2007-12 Bicycle Strategy and the number of cyclists is always growing.
Continued funding is vital to complete and improve the cycling network, so the coming generation can cycle safely and easily around Leichhardt. This simply can not happen with no money.
And yes here’s another petition for you to tell Leichhardt Council you want some money put back in the cycling budget please!
I welcome your comments – how do we get cyclists to share paths and how do we get Leichhardt to give us back some cycling budget? Hmmmm….