Informa Australia is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Transport & Logistics

Twitter Debate: Safer Cycling in Australian Cities

25 Jan 2013, by Informa Insights

Brisbane transport planner Rachel Smith (@CyclingRSmith) is an enthusiastic blogger and advocate for cycling in our cities.  Yesterday, the shortlisted 2012 TED Global Fellow initiated an interesting Twitter discussion (#cyclecitychat) about cycling, streets, and safety on our roads. The one hour real time debate addressed six issues and featured some interesting contributions from the Twitter community. Here is a summary of the most interesting contributions from Twitterfeed organised around the six questions. The responses are slightly amended for the purpose of readability.

Cycle City Chat Twitter Screen shotQuestion 1 (@CyclingRSmith): What street is the safest street you have cycled on?

MikeandmyBike: Federation Way Sydney no cars.

Warwickabsolon: Hard to name one – but can describe: no blind bends, plenty of width, separated from cars and pedestrians,

EmilyFdelaPena: Living in Bonn Germany I felt safe on any city street I cycled. I didn’t think twice about taking the shortest route.

Warwickabsolon: In Brisbane, the cyclepath along the Western Freeway is good – I have not ridden on a street that is safe – not in Brisbane.

MikeandmyBike: Or general cycling in countries that have a law of liability to protect more vulnerable road users.

BicycleAdagio: Canning St in Carlton Nth, Melbourne. No through-traffic, big bike lanes, traffic calming. It’s magic.

kitc85: Probably a countryside road where I had a it to myself i.e. no cars!


Question 2 (CyclingRSmith): Do we need separated bikeways OR to challenge current road/street design? Why do we fail to challenge the poor design of streets that prioritise rapid vehicle movements, rather than people?

DZ_AU: Two words: petrified politicians. Because political will is only missing ingredient to turn that around.

EmilyFdelaPena: How many people are we moving vs. How many vehicles are we moving? Are we designing the city for people or vehicles?

The_CityMouse: Pedestrian experience is left to the urban designers but if the roads are finalised it’s too late!


Question 3 (CyclingRSmith): How can we make space in Aussie city streets for children and older ladies to ride a bicycle safely?

MikeandmyBike: Simple-but not so simple-old answer. Separated facilities and cautious drivers.

Warwickabsolon: Close lanes that are under-utilised. Big barriers in between.

EmilyFdelaPena: Inclusive design: design for perception of safety. Regardless of the stats of cycling on main roads,I still wouldn’t do it.


Question 4 (CyclingRSmith): Regardless of our cycling abilities do Australian cities need separated bikeways or slower speed limits or both?

MikeandmyBike: Both. But lower speed limits may be more effective to reduce accidents – proven stats.

warwickabsolon : If I had to choose – separated bikeways, but then again. What is easier to enforce for longer times?

The_CityMouse: Also traffic safety lessons and training for women by women?

Davide Zulli: People lose their minds at thought of ‘their’ tax dollars being used for bikeways so lower speed limits.

EmilyFdelaPena: Both. Design that keeps speeds low in local streets. Speed limits don’t always keep speeds low. Separation on busier roads.

Ads4Cyclists: Both, but more importantly STATE-FUNDED Driver AWARENESS & EDUCATION programs for CYCLIST SAFETY.


Question 5 (CyclingRSmith): How do we as residents & tax payers tackle ALL the problems: pothole identification, safety, lobbying MP’s?

EmilyFdelaPena : Start with creating our own solutions and then businesses and governments will feel compelled to match the effort and the change.

DZ_AU: After 7 yrs managing stakeholders, I can confirm residents far are better at addressing issues than pollies!! Problems arise when genuine issues raised by community are dismissed with party-specific motherhood statements.


Question 6: Say 1 or even pledge – 1 thing that you will do next week/month to improve #bicycle #safety where you live? Good luck! 

Warwickabsolon: Come to a complete stop at a stop sign, not just very slow. I don’t do it in a car, why do it on my bike?

EmilyFdelaPena: I’m going to take some friends (who don’t or haven’t cycled for a while) on a super fun bike ride.

MikeandmyBike: Ride more – safety in numbers

Blog insights you may like

Get all the latest on Informa news and events

Informa Connect Australia is the nation's leading event organiser. Our events comprise of large scale exhibitions, industry conferences and highly specialised corporate training.

Find out more

Subscribe to Insights

Join Our Newsletter
Informa Insights

Stay up-to-date with all the latest
updates, upcoming events & more.