Riding to Melbourne CBD bounces back

Bike commuting in Melbourne is bouncing back in the wake of the COVID years and numbers are up more than 50% on last year, according to data from today's annual bike count.

Although still not reaching the levels of pre-COVID commuting, riding to work is strongly on the rise.

Bicycle Network, in association with local councils, tallies bikes on key routes across Melbourne and Australia on a Tuesday in March each year.

Numbers have been sadly depressed in recent years due to the impact of work-from-home arrangements for office workers, remote education, and entertainment and dining sector impediments.

Bicycle Network has produced a rapid analysis of usually busy routes in and around city to gain some early insights into the Super Tuesday count results. Across sites sampled, the numbers were up an average 64% over last year, but are still down 34% compared to pre-COVID data.

The count clearly indicates that the work-from-home phenomenon is on the wane as business districts return to economic health.

Bike rider numbers on the Swanston Street at La Trobe Street were up by 83% over last year, as was the combined count site at Costco for Footscray Road and the Moonee Ponds Creek Trails, despite construction activities hampering travel on Footscray Road.

Bicycle Network CEO Alison McCormack says it is heart-warming to see so many people taking the healthy route to work.

"Our roads are starting to look like normal again," she says. "All kinds of people on all kinds of bikes, every age group, plenty with children being dropped off to childcare on the way to work.

"Melbourne looks like Melbourne again, and bikes are well and truly back on the rapid growth path."

The complete results will be released soon, as results for more than 700 sites counted are submitted and analysed.

Outside the the CBD, a sampling of sites in Maribyrnong shows numbers up 41% over last year, City of Yarra 42% and City of Melbourne more broadly was up 64%.

Elsewhere in Australia there were also signs of recovery. Hobart was up 42% on 2022's rain and wind-soaked figures, and a sampling of several suburbs in Sydney, showed a lift of 14%.

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