This article from the Conversation is interesting. (It first appeared in March. My apologies if someone has already linked to it here.)

It says what we already know –– that our state governments, and especially NSW –– spend peanuts on cycling infrastructure or active transport –– but there are couple of remarkable points. One is that our spending per head of population is two-thirds of what they spend in Copenhagen. (Seems relatively high, no?) The other is that because so few people ride, spending per cyclist is also remarkably high – over $1000 in most places. 

The first point suggests that it might not take too much effort for an interested government to bring Australian spending up to world standard. But the second suggests the kind of arguments unsympathetic governments will use to say that enough is already being done for cycling. 

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I don't think it is a useful metric looking at spending per head when active transport is suppressed due to lack of infrastructure. A better metric would be spending per head of projected use. Also we would actually need to spend much more the the Dutch  each year as they have a long history of building bike infra....we have catching up to do so need to spend more now to compensate for the lack of prior spending. Also since active transport is often last to the party it often cost a lot more to do simple things, as you also have to relocate services, redo landscaping, improve drainage etc.

Oh and also some of that $1000 per head is silly things like a $39 million dollar bridge  no one wanted and hardly anyone uses.


further to that, using the spending per head results in people thinking that it is much greater value in investing in infrastructure for cars as opposed to any other infrastructure simply because of the number of heads in that group (a lot can also be prefixed with "dick")

Perhaps to put things into proper perspective they should use per capita, then we would be able to see the true expenditures. But as with everything political it is always loaded such that they end up with the most votes.

The measure per head of population is meaningless because of the area of our country that is sparsely settled compared to the density of Denmark. Their multiple heads within a settlement 5kms from the next one can give them linked cyclepaths. With our 20-50+kms between settlements, it doesn't even give a footpath in front of a residence.

What about comparing cities?

The area of greater Sydney has the same population as the same area centred on Amsterdam. Same number of people per square kilometre.

The difference is that in Sydney that population is spread more thinly over that area, whereas in Amsterdam it's concentrated in towns (and Amsterdam itself), with green space in between, and good rail connections to link all the little concentrations of people.

Nevertheless, inner Sydney has more than enough density and short distance travel to make cycleways worthwhile. And building cycleways changes the density and travel patterns of populations, so it should also be built in the burbs. Chicken-egg, egg-chicken.

wow - I bet those country folk are glad they're getting their $300/head benefits of  light rail   </sarc>

Those country folk have their roads, electricity, gas, water, fire brigade, and policing all massively subsidised by people who live in denser areas. 

Compared to Copenhagen spending is low because they already have their infrastructure.

Spending is supposed to be 20% of total road spending, new road infrastructure is supposed to come with cycling infrastructure as well. Accommodating cycling is standard in developed/progressive nations.

The Lilyfield Road boondoggle tells me that most of NSW spending is on consultants and plans. Not actually getting stuff built.

The Dutch spend about 30 Euros ($50) per capita,  and have done for decades. As a result they have a very dense network of cyclepaths and cycle friendly streets, and many towns where about 40- 50 % of trips are by bike- much more than Denmark. Not sure If the car taming and traffic calming budget is part of that or comes on top. The latter is apparently just as important as the specific bike infra.

NSW govt  had about $60 m last financial year in its normal bicycle budget, plus there was $80 m put in a Bicycle Infrastructure Fund for use over 4 years, so say $20 m per year. Councils probably spend a few more million of their own money, cheapskates, tho Inner West is stumping up $10 m for the Greenway. I don’t know if there is an overall figure anywhere. BN used to keep a BIXE list. Anyway at a rough estimate maybe about $90 m all up is spent per year now, which is up a lot from 10 years ago, when we were lucky to get $5 m. So about $10-12 per capita.

Found this while poking around, on the new guidelines for getting projects funded.

Bicycle NSW just put this out. Has some good facts and figures, and is calling for an increase to $30 a head.

Quite a good submission really.  Outlines the business case and practical demands.

So which political parties are committing to implement it? (ie, who should we be voting for in the upcoming State election?)

I saw this too one thing stuck out to me was they are want bikes paths for everyone -which they go onto define is 8 to 80 year olds. In my family i have regular cyclist that are both younger and older than that figure.


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