One of the most iconic elements about Kangaroo Point, besides the cliffs, is the bikeway – it is used by locals and holiday makers and provides great family bonding and entertainment but, for those on holiday, often the only way they’re able to enjoy such an experience is because of the CityCycle program.
Kangaroo Point is the premier location for Brisbane holiday makers and I would strongly recommend the riverfront apartments of Bridgewater Terraces as providing a comfortable and convenient base point. For those people not wanting to hire a car, there is easy access to both public transport and the CityCycle network.
However, I recently came across a new article that looks at the current state of the program which suggests its future may be grim. The loss of the network would impact on the ability of tourists and locals alike to access large areas of the city.
The CityCycle, introduced in 2010, is a bike share program with a network of 150 stations across Brisbane’s city centre. The program allows riders access to bikes 24 hrs, seven days a week whereby subscribers can hire and return a bike at any station within the network. The forward thinking rider can even ride for free all day, provided the bikes are returned within half hour intervals with a small time gap before rehiring another bike, a boon for the holiday maker on a budget.
So why would such an innovative program, with obvious health benefits and practicality aspects, be on the verge of collapse?
Dr Elliot Fishman, of Queensland University of Technology, has some answers to that question. A combination of fear and frustration factors, seem to be the most influential in determining people’s participation in the scheme. Dr Fishman found that there was a common belief that cycling, particularly in the city, is too dangerous and that the infrastructure wasn’t adequate to alleviate these risks. There was also the perception that the subscription process was too tedious and off putting for the casual user. Other factors were Brisbane’s warmer weather and hill. He recommended more dedicated bike lanes, lower speed limits and an education campaign to help reduce the risks associated with cycling and improve the use of the CityCycle program. Simplifying the sign up process and providing helmets have already helped to increase participation in the program.
Brisbane Council is committed to improving the cycle amenities and infrastructure with Brisbane City Council Active Transport Committee spokesman, Peter Matic, acknowledging the commitment of $220 million dollars over 8 years to 2016. “We have always looked for opportunities for separate pathways, and we actually have them,” he said. Kangaroo Point already has access to some of these dedicated cycle ways and two stations, #89 and #90, are both within easy walking distance of Bridgewater Terraces making it very easy for our guests to use the current system.
But that is only part of the solution. The need for riders to have helmets has also contributed to the problem. Not everyone, and particularly tourists to the city, has their own helmets and, while half of the bikes provided now do come with a helmet, it is impossible to use the program if helmets are not available. As state laws require all riders to wear a safety helmet, many people in support of the program have called for CityCycle riders to be exempt from the compulsory helmet laws. However, for the moment, the law stands unchanged.
Council Opposition Leader Milton Dick, has conceded, “We need to look at ways at making it simpler, perhaps looking at a tourism angle to get people who visit Brisbane to use it in certain routes.” Such a recommendation may see the system becoming more available to all potential users and enable tourists a greater use of the program.
In the meantime, I strongly recommend that you remember to pack your bike helmet and make use of the CityCycle program for your adventures in Brisbane as it is a great, economical way to see the city. With the money that you save by booking affordable accommodation at our comfortable and friendly apartments at Bridgewater Terraces in Kangaroo Point, you may even consider purchasing a helmet, as it will be well used while you’re visiting and the experience alone will be worth the money.
Support the CityCycle program and see the best of Brisbane by enjoying a bike ride around Kangaroo Point. We hope to see you in our neck of the woods soon.