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.

2 replies on “Research: tracking cyclists could lead to targeted infrastructure development”

  1. You don’t need research for that as the answer is blooming obvious to anyone who knows anything about bikes. Although I suppose you need it to prove it to ignorant pollies & managers.
    Strava is great data to help planning but it is used mostly by racers and higher speed keen commuters. They mostly ride on-road to go faster on a better surface and not have to deal with pedestrians, dogs, sharp corners, horrible concrete joints; cars failing to give way at driveways; side streets where bikes have right of way but most people don’t know the road rules. (s72-75. read the definition; think about it.)
    Slower, more casual riders often prefer paths but they mostly don’t use Strava.
    To know who is using what facilities you need to do manual counts of on and off-road and classify user types too. Correlate manual counts across a range of sites to Strava and then you might have an idea who is really riding where and how many. Add in intercept attitude surveys of rider decisions and then you have a real good set of data to explain bikes to decision makers and the public.

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