More People Riding More Often in Freo

Did you know?:
Since 2013, the City of Fremantle has invested more than $2.2 million in local cycling infrastructure to help people to get around safely on bikes and doubled the number of bike parking racks in the city. In that time, there’s been a 46 per cent increase in the number of people on bikes, and significantly, at least 40 per cent of them are women.
This stats are from Cr Rachel Pemberton‘s article in WA Today. It is a good read as part of Bike Week.
Life is different when you get out of the car and ride. Photo: Nick Moir

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

9 Responses to More People Riding More Often in Freo

  1. Benjamin says:

    Great story. Out of interest, how many people does the 46% represent? How is it measured? Where do the stats come from?

    How much per person does the $2.2m of ratepayer money represent?

  2. Lionel says:

    And where did she get those stats from? I would have thought as an academic it was a big no-no to simply republish un-cited statistics as fact.

  3. Ben and Lionel
    I expect that Rachel got these stats from the City of Fremantle who does both manual bike counts and also has a number of automated counters around Freo (via Metrocount I believe) that accurately track bike numbers on key routes. That spend is around $73 per Freo resident over recent years which interestingly puts us on par with places like Copenhagen.
    Although the big difference is they have been investing in cycling this way for decades so we have a long way to catch up.
    cheers, Brad

    • Benjamin says:

      Yes but the question was – how much per actual cyclist? You have spent over $2200 per day on this infrastructure. That is more than the equivalent of the annual council rates for a large Fremantle property. In other words, each day, more than one property’s rates are dedicated to an undisclosed number of cyclists.

      All I’m asking is how much per cyclist is this?

      • Ben
        According to baseline data established for the National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016: gearing up for active and sustainable communities, around 22 per cent of WA residents cycle in a typical week, and this increases to 30 per cent over a month and to 45 per cent over a year.
        Evidence indicates that Freo is well above this state average.
        Despite these encouraging signs we are still keen to get more people cycling more often and safe infrastructure is the best way to do this.
        I think it is a good investment

      • Benjamin says:

        Okay – I was genuinely interested in the economic measures that go toward the decision making behind making this bike infrastructure but these are just arms length stats.

        By my calculations – you are spending $1.00 every time someone gets on their bike and $2.25 each time someone who wasn’t cycling in 2013 gets on their bike. That is mind boggling to me as a ratepayer when public infrastructure (like the town hall) is crumbling.

        I would imagine that as mayor, you would be naturally inquisitive enough to attempt to measure the functional return on your investment and to decide if it is value for money or not. I would hope that you may revisit this page and give us more precise answers in the near future?

        Here are my calculations:

        You have given us some non-exact stats. Lets use them though. You’ve suggested the cost is $73 per resident. This suggests that there are c.29,000 residents within Fremantle. You’ve also said that 22% of these cycle once per day and that 30% cycle once per month and 45% once per year. What we want to see is what the average number of cyclists might be. Once per week/month/year doesn’t really get us there but I think that a generous estimate might be to assume that the weekly residents cycle twice per week and the monthly twice per month.

        So 6380 people cycle twice a week. 8700 (30%) – 6780 (22%) = 1920 people cycle twice a month and roughly 4,350 cycle twice a year. That’s 1,990,560 + 138,240 + 13,050 = 2,129,850 cycle movements.

        In other words, the city of Fremantle pays $1.03 every time some one gets on their bike.

        Now, if you are only talking about the “increment” in cyclist activity, the price per ride looks even higher. Your article suggests that the increase has been 46% over this time. Accordingly you are suggesting that since 2013 bike riding has gone up by 46% x 2,129,850 = 979,731 cycle movements.

        So the bicycle improvement costs the council $2.24 every time a new cyclist rides – assuming there is a direct correlation in your spending and the increase in riding.

        I find it amazing that such a huge amount of our rates goes toward encouraging people to do something that I’ve been able to do since I was a kid in the 80s. I’m pretty sure I can still do it without you guys pumping out $2.24 every time I get on my bike.

        Thanks for your time

      • Ben
        It was a bit hard to follow your methodology but I do wonder in your calculations are a bit off as you seem to underestimate the number of times people cycle – ie those who ride daily. Daily cyclist alone make up over 6,600,000 cycle movements over the period.
        Most importantly you miss the point that cities need to invest in infrastructure at a level that gets them the modal mix we desire. All the evidence is that bikes are some of the best value transport infrastructure on offer.

        Check out for example “How Bike Friendly Cities Beat the Opposition and Became the New Normal”
        1. Bike lanes create safer streets for everyone. “It’s the safety stats that carried the day,” notes Ben Fried, editor of Streetsblog. “They’re pretty indisputable.” Crashes for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists drop on average by 40 percent on streets with green lanes, and sometimes as much as 50 percent, according to a memorandum from Deputy New York Mayor Howard Wolfson. Bike lanes of every kind also lead to significantly fewer bicyclists riding on sidewalks, Fried notes.
        2. Bike lanes are good for business. Shop owners are sometimes zealous opponents of bike lanes, which they claim will suffocate business by reducing traffic and eliminating parking. Yet businesses on 9th Avenue, the first major green lane in the city, saw a 49 percent rise in retail sales, compared to 3 percent across Manhattan as a whole, according to research by the New York City Department of Transportation. Another study of consumer patterns by researchers at Portland State University found that shoppers who arrive by bicycle spend 24 percent more at stores per month than those who drive.

        cheers, Brad

      • Benjamin says:

        You’ve thrown a lot of stats at me which have no validity to the situation in Fremantle. New York isn’t Fremantle. It has a completely different population density.

        I just think you are stepping outside what is expected of you Brad. You are directing our money toward these things. I think sometimes you forget that the rates that you are compulsorily acquiring from us are earned by us slogging our guts out every day at work. Why don’t you work on reducing the amount of money you take from us rather than taking from the majority (non-bike riders) and giving to the minority (bike riders). That’s what you are doing and up until now, you are not showing any sign of being able to justify it economically.

        I’m being negative here and the reason is that you can’t tell me what the financial benefit is to this money being spent. I’ve not seen any relevant to fremantle safety improvement stats. Remember that stats aren’t just percentages. They are quantities as well. How many people are benefiting from your allocation of our money? How can you cite an article like this, having not even monitored the success (or otherwise) of the money spent?

        In the absence of that information, the only conclusion that is possible to be drawn is that you are using a our money and pumping vast sums of unjustified money into a pastime that you happen to like to do.

      • Ben
        I thought we were having an evidence based discussion? I believe the international evidence from New York, to Copenhagen to Sydney and Perth is that bike lanes make strong economic sense.
        Long after the bike path concrete has dried the economic benefits can keep rolling, so long as the bike path is well planned and integrated into a broader cycle network.

        The ongoing benefits of bike infrastructure were illustrated in a recent report which showed that new Sydney cycleways have had a positive effect on property prices. This account indicated that having a bike path right outside your front door increases the value of your house. One owner in the area said that the combination of a garage at the rear and the bike path out the front had added a premium of $100,000 to his house.

        The rise in real estate prices from bike lanes is not limited to Australia. Across the other side of the world, a study in Pittsburgh found that bike paths led to increases in business and property selling prices. Realtors in North Carolina reportedly added US$5,000 to the prices of 40 homes adjacent to the Shepherd’s Vineyard Bikeway. Similarly results from the City of Vancouver indicated that 65% of realtors would use the bikeway as a selling feature of a home. The University of Delaware study showed that on average properties within 50m of a bike path could be expected to increase property values by at least US$8,800.

        Going beyond house prices, a study done for the City of Sydney shows the city’s planned 200 km cycleway network would deliver $506 million in net economic benefits over 30 years. This is roughly equivalent to a $4 return on every dollar spent, compared with just $2 for motorway projects.

        Evidence of the broader economic benefits of bike lanes is not limited to Australia. In Copenhagen the bicycle, with a modal share of 36%, is already the most used form of transport for trips to work or educational institutions. A study commissioned by Copenhagen’s mayor showed that driving cars offers up a $0.20 net loss for each mile driven, due to congestion, health, accidents and environmental impacts. This is in contrast to the bicycle which offers a $0.35 net benefit to the economy per mile ridden.

        In a similar manner in Portland, Oregon, increased cycling as result of sustained bike lane investment is generating more than $100 million of economic activity each year and creating 1000 jobs.

        The success of raising cycling rates in Copenhagen and Portland illustrates the benefits of strong and sustained investment in a network of bike lanes. As these integrated networks expand and connect the places people want to go to and from, this creates greater use, better network efficiencies and better returns on investment.

        Or as Greg Ip puts it: “Just as you are more likely to buy an iPad the more applications it has, you are more likely to switch from car to bicycle the more bicycle lanes (and therefore destinations reachable by bicycle) are available. Doubling the number of bike lanes more than doubles the number of cyclists likely to use them.”

        And of course there are the positive long-term economic benefits of bike infrastructure such as the savings to the health system, and the impact a greater percentage of people cycling has on lowering the cost of road infrastructure.

        Cycling infrastructure is a low cost urban transport option that has the potential to have greater overall economic, environmental and social benefits, compared to mainstream urban transport investment.

        Not only does better bike infrastructure help create a more liveable and sustainable cities, but the early evidence is that it improves local economies as well.

        Ben, if you have evidence that suggests otherwise i would be interested to see it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: