$507 million pushbike bonanza for Sydney

SYDNEY'S cycleways will save the city millions of dollars in travel time, pollution and fatalities over the next 30 years, a new report suggests.

Economists put a dollar value on factors surrounding the cycleways: Human life ($165,659 per year), health ($487 per year), and sitting in gridlock ($12.20 per hour). By crunching the numbers, top global economists AECOM found that over 30 years the paths would save Sydney $507 million - or 84c per kilometre.

As Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Premier Kristina Kenneally nut out the final details of their car-free vision of the future, turning the fragmented bike network into 284km of separated cycleways, the report predicted the now empty bike lanes would be busy once the network was finished with demand skyrocketing 263 per cent in the next six years.

Less congested streets would save $97 million, speedier journeys $143 million, fewer road deaths $40 million, slashed absenteeism $107 million, and "journey ambience" - less stress for cyclists - would save $129.8 million.

For each kilometre travelled on a separated bike path, 27c would be saved in road congestion, 32c in car operating costs and 11.66c in reduced stress, frustration, route uncertainty and fear of accidents.

"Significant benefits will be accrued by individuals, government and the general economy through the full development of the network," the Economic Appraisal of the Inner Sydney Regional Bicycle Network said.

"Travellers stand to benefit through travel time savings, avoided car costs, journey ambience and health benefits at the cost of a relatively small increase in accident costs."

A City of Sydney spokeswoman said addressing congestion improved access for people who had to drive, such as emergency services, people with disabilities, tradespeople and couriers.

"Cycleways are part of the transport solution," she said.

"For every $1 spent on cycleways, the benefit to our economy is approximately $4 - that's compared with an average of $2 for motorways."

From The Daily Telegraph