People rallying to pedal power
FOR David Harding, riding his bike started as a way to keep up with his athletic wife, but now he sees the economic, health and environmental benefits.
Yesterday was Ride to Work Day and despite unseasonal weather deterring a lot of people from participating in the national event, Mr Harding rides to work nearly every day.
“First of all, I live quite close to work and there are big advantages in leaving the car at home,” he said.
“I am not wearing out the car, not using fuel and I suppose I am helping the environment as well. Riding is relaxing, too.
“My wife is a runner, so I thought I should get out there and do something myself.”
The 48-year-old said most of the region’s cycle infrastructure was ‘not bad’, but he would like to see more cycle lanes on congested roads.
Northern Rivers Cycling Club president Shane Hulbert picked Ballina as the town with the best cycleways. It boasts a cycle path that runs from the RSL Club to North Wall and along Shelly Beach.
A cycleway at Evans Head is planned to be extended from the Woodburn-Evans Head Road to the existing cycle path at Bottlebrush Crescent.
Cycling is also expanding in Lismore, with Lismore City Council working hard to establish more pathways in the city.
Byron Bay has a cyclist-friendly path along the southern end of Ewingsdale Road, and a path that connects Main Beach to The Pass. However, many cyclists also use the footpaths along the town’s main roads.
According to the Cycling Promotion Fund, last year was the 10th year in succession that bicycle sales nationally had outstripped car sales.
But the increase in cyclist numbers is causing problems on the roads, with the NSW Ambulance Service responding to more than 400 bicycle accidents each month.
Mr Harding said the figures ‘can’t be ignored’. “We have people telling us roads are dangerous for cyclists, but I don’t believe they’re worse than anywhere else,” he said.