Sylvan Rd is the connecter between the Western Freeway bikeway and the Bicentennial bikeway, forming the main western corridor for bicycle traffic. Counts of cyclists using Sylvan Rd reveal that in some sections cyclists comprise 40 per cent of all traffic between 7am and 8am.
Currently Sylvan Road is the weak link in bicycle network. Whilst the Western Freeway bikeway and the Bicentennial Bikeway offer a high standard of safety and amenity for people on bikes, Sylvan Rd bikeway which connects the two, is a narrow strip often running between parked cars and motor vehicle traffic. Where the bike lane is in the door zone of parked cars there is a high risk of people riding in the bike lane being injured or killed.
Bicycle riders have already been injured on Sylvan Road because of the unsafe conditions. The Australian newspaper ran an article on the dangers of Sylvan Rd.
The bicycle lanes on Sylvan Road need to be upgraded to a similar standard of safety and amenity as provided by Bicentennial and Western Freeway bikeways which feed into it. To achieve this, Sylvan Road needs either a protected bi-directional bike lanes on one side of the road or single direction protected bike lanes on both sides.
In May 2015 a petition of 700 signatures was presented to Brisbane City Council to construct protected bike lanes on the popular cycling route.
Brisbane City Council’s response was to restrict curb side parking during peak periods. This is insufficient to achieve the safety and amenity required by people on bicycles. People on bicycles want to be able to rely on having a safe bicycle route all the time, as many people on bicycles travel outside peak periods to go to the shops, university, to and from school and work.
All around the world, cities are installing separated and protected bike lanes to enable people on bicycles to get where they need to go safely and conveniently. There bike lanes have been sown to encourage more people to ride, reducing traffic congestion on these streets.
Brisbane Active Transport Strategy 2012-2026, supports the construction of separated bike lanes and lists among its initiatives: “creating a connected commuter cycling network by creating a network of high quality cycle paths with separation from cars and pedestrians in high-use areas” (page 10).
As the number of people riding bicycles increases our road design must adapt to meet this demand. We need bicycle infrastructure which is safe and attractive for all users from age 8 to 80, not just for the strong and fearless.
We need a safe, separated bike lane on Sylvan Rd Toowong.