Introduction: When old friends visit, it's the perfect opportunity to revisit familiar places and create new memories. Recently, I had the chance to catch up with a friend from Bathurst, and we decided to take a leisurely ride along the Parramatta Valley Cycleway. This journey turned into a nostalgic trip down memory lane as we explored completed projects we had advised on during our time on the cycleway committee. However, our adventure also highlighted the importance of safety for cyclists, especially women, and the need for well-designed bike facilities.
Safety for Cyclists, Especially Women: As we pedaled along the picturesque Parramatta Valley Cycleway, our conversation naturally veered towards safety concerns for cyclists, with evening commutes being a significant topic. One crucial aspect we discussed was adequate lighting along the cycleway. Ensuring that cycling routes are well-lit in the evenings enhances visibility and contributes to overall safety for riders.
Our Journey to the CBD: Our ride culminated in the heart of Parramatta's CBD, right outside the Phive Community Library. This stop was about checking out the new space and assessing the accessibility of bike racks in the library's underground carpark. To our surprise, locating the entrance for bike access proved challenging, and we ended up using the car ramp. In hindsight, this may have been a safer option given the steepness of the adjacent wheel ramp for the stairs, which presented its challenges.
The Quest for Secure Bike Parking: Once inside the carpark, we were relieved to find plenty of bike racks. However, our excitement became a learning experience when we attempted to use the wall mounts. It turned out that our bikes' mudguards posed an issue, highlighting the importance of familiarizing oneself with Australian standards for bike racks, which can be found in the Austroad guide. These standards ensure bike racks can securely hold the bicycle frame and both wheels.
Prioritizing Safety and Accessibility: We agreed that visibility and personal safety are paramount when parking our bikes in public spaces. We prefer bike parking areas sheltered from extreme weather conditions and well-lit at night. It was reassuring to note the presence of a CCTV camera overlooking the 20-plus racks, adding an extra layer of security.
Accessing Our Destination: Getting to our final destination, the Phive Community Library, became another adventure. From the underground carpark, we had to access the lifts in the Parramatta Square building, navigate to the ground floor, and then make our way over to the library. However, we were pleased to discover a short-stay bicycle rack right outside the library's entrance and learned that there are plans for another rack in the near future.
Conclusion and Call to Action: Our journey along the Parramatta Valley Cycleway was a trip down memory lane and an eye-opening experience about the importance of safe and accessible bike facilities. We encourage everyone to inquire about the best places to park their bikes in their local areas and champion the installation of bike-friendly amenities. In doing so, we can promote cycling as a safe and sustainable mode of transportation for all.