Finally, Frome for Eternity


$12 million has been pledged to turn Adelaide into a cycling capital. Bike SA CEO, Christian Haag, looks at what this means for South Australia and its capital city. 

The recent announcement from the State Government and Adelaide City Council to invest $12 million over the next two years to complete the north-south (Frome St Bikeway) and develop an east-west separated bikeway across the City is a significant step forward in realising Adelaide as a progressive, economically vibrant and internationally high ranking liveable city.

This investment represents the largest infrastructure investment to date within the City for cycling and we certainly commend the partnership approach between Transport Minister Mullighan and Lord Mayor Haese.


Users of the Frome Street Bikeway

Perhaps of more significance in this announcement is the commitment of $1 million towards the establishment of a fully-fledged ‘point-to-point’ bike share scheme for our City. The engagement of the seven neighboring City ‘ring councils’ in this project is vital and we encourage them to co-invest in this major initiative.

Frustratingly, there is an endemic assumption across certain sectors of the community that our citizens only want to travel by car to navigate their daily lives, whether for transport, shopping or business.

The facts tell a very different story.


Australia’s love affair with cars is waining. 

Nationally, total vehicle kilometres travelled each year by car across Australia has continued to fall since 2008. This means that we as a nation, are choosing to use our cars less each and every day.


Added to this trend is the growth in higher density urban living spaces, with apartment living within major city boundaries growing significantly. Inner city apartment buyers can save around $55,000 on their apartment purchase price by simply not having an allocated car park attached to their apartment.

Further, today we have increasing numbers of young Australians choosing not to hold a drivers license. Why spend the minimum of $7,000 a year on car ownership when you can easily ride your bike to work, play and eat?

The evidence shows that it’s far more enjoyable to spend a small portion of that significant annual expense at the local shops, eateries and bars with family and friends. And what a bonus that is to our small business operators.

This reaffirms evidence from United State’s cities that business owners report an increase of 24% turnover from those shoppers that ride a bicycle to their place of business as opposed to those that arrive by car.

The tantalising ingredient in the announcement is the commitment for Bike Share to move closer to reality.

Globally, bike share schemes have taken over the urban mobility strategies for major progressive cities.

In 2007 there were 15,000 bikes on offer via bike share schemes worldwide. This figure has grown to in excess of 1,000,000 bikes in 2015. Of note is the per capita share of these programs with China leading the way with a staggering 0.3 bikes per person. By comparison, Europe has a per capita share of 0.18 share bikes per capita, while Australia doesn’t even rate.

VIDEO: Hangzhou Public Bicycle sharing system serving the city of Hangzhou, China has over 66,500 bicycles operating from 2,700 stations, making it the largest in the world. 

Bike Share completely transformed the mobility framework in Seville, where cycling rates grew from 2% (similar to Adelaide) to 7% within several years. It just goes to show that if its readily available, cost effective and convenient, people will use it.

Become a Bike SA member and help advocate for better cycling conditions as well as enjoy discounts at bike stores and great insurance. 

Christian Haag

Christian Haag is the CEO of Bicycle SA and while he doesn't wear lycra - he does ride a Mountain Bike.

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17 Comments. Leave new

Is the Gawler Green Way still going ahead?


Great news – however – can we look at light synchronisation for the cycle routes? Fixing this for a speed of 15-20kmh would make the routes far more useful. As Frome St currently is, I find it faster to use alternative routes North to South.
Keep up the good work!


Excellent news and about time really – still if bike share is to take off in SA and Australia do we need to remove the rule of cycling with a helmet at all times. I’m assuming that the cities that have good bike share schemes don’t have the same helmet law as we do here.

I’m not sure how you would practically ensure that bike hire stations (normally unmanned) could hire the bike and the associated required helmet each time. Theft of the helmets would be highly likely and I am pretty sure most people don’t want to use a sweaty cycle helmet after a complete stranger anyway.. yuk.

Ian Radbone
July 29, 2016 5:39 am

Yes, great news, especially the promise to provide a high quality connection between Kent Town and Mile End. I assume that will mean some sort of separate path next to the Hilton Bridge over the railway line.
However the Council also intends to rip out the existing Frome Bikeway and replace it with something narrower, to allow for two lanes of peak hour traffic. It will be narrower than the existing one, because at the moment cars get a 3m car lane and 2.1m parking lane in each direction. Two car lanes will be wider than the existing one car lane + one parking lane. Will you still be able to overtake a slow cyclist in the narrower lane?


I’d rather they spent that money putting in cycling lanes and infustructure in the outer suburbs


The bike share scheme will not be viable unless helmet laws are relaxed. Its just too much of a hassle to manage otherwise, and I’m pretty sure Melbourne has discovered that. On my visits to Melbourne last year I noticed quite a few ‘bike share helmets’ being worn by people riding their own bikes – so perversely the bike helmet laws are not only turning people off the bike share scheme, but have also resulted in the bike share scheme acting as a ready supply of helmets for some people, to facilitate their compliance with helmet laws! I’m also concerned at what wasn’t said in Martin Haese’s announcement – eg just how much better than a painted line on the road will the bike / car separation be? And how much narrower will the bikeway be than currently? There needs to be ample room for faster cyclists to pass slower riders. And I hope that the $12M will include some sort of traffic light priority system for the bikeways – having to stop every block for a red light really sucks the joy (and efficiency) out of cycling!


Am I missing something?

The advertiser stated: “now the Frome St bikeway has been recognised as a $1.6 million mistake that will be ripped up.”

Is it being kept or ripped up?


Its good to see the investment although it would be nice if they spent some money to improve ability to get to CBD & Parkland bikeways. Travelling north/south is not an option on Goodwood or South Roads. Unley & Belair Roads are the best & the condition & size of bike lanes is shocking.


Should have a look at the bike share scheme in Dublin. It is massively popular and works very well!


there is a bike lane already here. It may not be the best but it exists. How about spending more money on the major commuter roads and making improvements in the suburbs where it is desperately needed. Intresections that are death traps for commuting cyclists Sudholz Rd and NE Road intersection is a perfect example of how not to build an intersection.
Why not stop pleasing city councillors and the ACC Lord mayor with state government dollars and do something for all road users, not just tourists and students who dont follow the road rules anyway.
12 million dollars could fix up thousands of potholes in the middle of bike lanes as well

Butcher's Pencil
July 29, 2016 4:04 pm

Oh Happy Days – at last a ray of common sense and progress !!


A step in the right direction, but really just further window dressing by weak governance to cover their own mistakes. Instead of spending billions on replacing tramways and light rail we should be investing a fraction of that cost on STAND ALONE bikeways that run from all points into the CBD and importantly across all suburbs, then we might be able to claim that we are a global green city with 25 to 30% of residents using bikes as their regular transport. Reducing car usage was one of the major goals of the state 10yr plan that govt. and local councils signed off on, yet we see millions of dollars wasted in pointless line marking of lanes that are ignored by car users and are often dangerous for cyclists. A cynic would observe that big business makes a lot more money from people using cars, and it is unlikely to change for generations to come.

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