Perth cyclists are choosing to ride on roads even where there is nearby cycle infrastructure, new research out of Edith Cowan University has found.
The researchers analysed data from mobile fitness app Strava to give a fuller picture of how Perth cyclists were using roads and cycle paths, finding that cycling was growing in popularity in the city but there were many cases where roads were used in favour of nearby bike paths with similar routes.
“The big question we need to answer now is why cyclists are choosing to ride on paths or roads in different areas,” School of Natural Sciences lecturer Dr Dave Blake said.
“This could be because of safety, convenience, speed or any number of other reasons. However, cyclists choosing quieter back roads are still at risk. Often these roads are not suitable for bike traffic as they can be narrow, filled with parked cars and can actually be quite hazardous.”
According to ECU Centre for Planning program director Tim Perkins, the next step will be understanding cyclist motivations.
“We hope to be able to gain a better understanding of the types of cyclists in Perth and their reasons for selecting the routes they do, whether that is bike path, road or a combination of both,” he said.
West Cycle chief executive Clint Shaw said the research was an important step in identifying gaps in Perth’s cycling infrastructure.
“We’ve seen a big increase in the number of people cycling in WA in recent years and it’s important bicycle infrastructure is improved in line with that increase,” he said.