The number of bike riders in Perth continues to soar, with new counts showing increases of up to 42.5 per cent on last year on some cycle paths.
The WA Department of Transport has permanent counters around the city to record bike movements all day, every day.
Last year, they counted 3,772,188 cyclists, compared with 3,295,832 in 2011 - a 14.5 per cent increase.
Given the location of the counters, this increase suggests more people are opting to ride to work. The biggest increases were on the new Guildford Road bike path near the Tonkin Highway overpass at 42.5 per cent and at the Perth-Bunbury Highway south of Paganoni Road at 39.3 per cent.
Late last year, research for the RAC found spending on cycling infrastructure could be better value for money than road and public transport investments.
It found the economic, social, health and environmental benefits of cycling infrastructure for the community was up to 5.4 times higher than the cost. This was often more than the benefits generated by other transport investments.
The research from Catalyst Consulting said investment in cycling had suffered for years from a lack of priority and had failed to keep pace with WA's population growth. As a result, the cycling network suffered from poor planning and gaps.
Last year, Transport Minister Troy Buswell released the State Government's bicycle network plan that prioritised finishing bike paths within 15km of central Perth.
"Since 1996, the number of people cycling to work or for leisure has increased more than fivefold, with an estimated 300,000 cyclists a month taking to the roads and paths around Perth," Mr Buswell said at the time.
"With Perth undergoing significant population growth, we expect the popularity of cycling will also increase."
Metropolitan and regional bicycle network grants to local councils have increased from $1 million a year to $2 million for city councils and up from $750,000 a year to $2 million for regional councils.
During the State election campaign, Premier Colin Barnett promised another $30 million for more bike paths, specifically on:• Kwinana Freeway (Narrows Bridge to Mt Henry Bridge) to widen the existing path at selected locations.
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