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2019 is shaping up to be a critically important year for the cycling community to ensure that Perth becomes a bike-friendly city. With both the Road Safety Commission’s WA Road Safety Strategy and the Department of Transport’s CBD Transport Plan currently under review, in the coming months, the community will be asked to ‘have their say’ and we need to as many people who want to see Perth become a bike-friendly city to get involved.

Over the coming weeks, we will be featuring cities from around the world that have transformed into bike-friendly cities to inspire Western Australia and particularly the City of Perth to #InvestInCycling

We have all heard about bike-friendly cities in Denmark and the Netherlands, but this smaller Californian City may have flown under the radar. In 1967, two professors started a petition for the City of Davis to install protected bike lanes.

A city centre around a university campus, the bike-friendly city of Davis continues to grow its bike infrastructure and as a result, cycling participation.

Key facts

  • Davis has historically embraced bicycle transportation and has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to bicycling over the years.
  • Davis now has over 100 miles of bike infrastructure.
  • Today, 98% of the main streets in Davis have some form of bicycle provision. Cycle use is highest on the campus, with 50% modal share (lecture rooms are distant, timings tight).
  • From 2011, cycling participation grew from 17% to 20% in 2015
  • When 7,000 or so new students arrive each October, many struggle to cope during their freshman induction days – upperclassmen students gather at campus intersections and cheer as newbies wobble into each other on the bicycle-specific traffic circles
  • From a petition started by two professors wanting a protected bikeway after seeing them in Europe in 1967 until today, Davis has been a leader in creating a bike-friendly city. In 1967, the City of Davis installed America’s first protected bikeway, albeit illegally until a citizen’s campaign helped change state law to allow it.
  • After the statewide ban on bikeways, Davis has continued on its bike-friendly reputation by installing America’s first protected intersection in 2015.

Key Project: Davis Bike Loop

  • Back in the 1980s, two landscape professors named Kerry Dawson and Mark Francis first proposed the bike loop.
  • The bike loop is made up of approximately 12 miles of bicycle route that connects most of the major pieces of bicycle infrastructure in town, including bike bridges and tunnels.
  • Not only does the loop give people a stress-free option to forgo driving cars, so traffic congestion is at a minimum but it also helps people get outdoors more often, enjoy the fresh air, and get plenty of exercise all at the same time.
  • The route is designed to be used as a navigable route for children, so parents can send their kids across town on a safe, easy-to-follow route, undoubtedly nurturing the skills of the next generation of commuter cyclists. (16)