Ben E

May 022017

Congratulations to Phil and Karen Buckner who have made a video showing off the advantages of the proposed cycleway from Charlestown to Dudley, nicknamed C2C.

Watch the video here:

Ben Ewald


 Posted by at 10:00 pm
Nov 282012

Internationally, usage rates generally vary between three and eight trips per day per bike. In Brisbane and Melbourne usage has generally been within 0.3–0.4 and 0.4–0.8 trips per day per bike respectively. Washington DC in January, when it is snowy and wet, has substantially more usage on its bike share scheme than Melbourne or Brisbane have in December.

Elliot Fishman has written an interesting piece on bike share schemes for The Conversation:

 Posted by at 1:35 pm
Oct 112012

Press Release from Newcastle Cycleways Movement
Thursday October 11, 2012
Wednesday 17 October is national Ride2Work Day.





After the huge success of BikeFest in Newcastle last weekend, Novocastrians will again take to two
wheels on Wednesday, this time for their daily commute to work. This
national event is a fantastic way to celebrate cycling and for new riders to give
cycling a go.
Ride2Work Day is becoming more popular every year, with more people
taking the opportunity to start riding to work, university or TAFE by bicycle. It
is always better to start cycling in a supportive environment with other riders
around to help you along. Ride to work day provides this with an explosion of
cyclists hitting the roads and with bike breakfast as an extra incentive to pedal
that extra mile. Current cycle commuters are encouraged to share ideas and
support and encourage new riders – by showing new riders the best bicycle
routes to work or by actually riding with them on the day.
Registering online at helps demonstrate the growth in
cycling and shows governments the need to invest in better cycling facilities.
Newcastle Cycleways Movement congratulates local organisations
participating in national Ride2Work Day. Free community and workplace
breakfasts have been organised by the City of Newcastle, University of
Newcastle, John Hunter Hospital, Hunter Medical Research Institute, CSIRO
and Valley to Coast GP Training. Itʼs not too late to join the fun – register
yourself or your workplace breakfast at
Newcastle Cycleways Movement: Peter Lee 0416 036 930
Hunter Medical Research Institute: Dr Ben Ewald 0422 378 042
John Hunter Hospital: Dr Libby Freihaut 0413 929 344

 Posted by at 5:46 pm
Sep 192012

Just to keep tabs on what is happening overseas, have a look at the bike score website. It is essentially a real estate tool that ranks areas on how attractive they are for cycling. Everyone knows that life is better when you live near a bike track so here is a systematic way people are using to find this out in advance for places they might live. It is an extension of previous analysis of how pedestrian friendly areas are.


 Posted by at 11:52 am
Jun 282012

Who really pays for roads and public transport?

Dr Ben Ewald,  Epidemiologist, University of Newcastle.

There is a widespread misconception that motorists pay for roads through fuel taxes, which has been brought up in recent commentary in the Newcastle Herald on bikes and cars sharing the road. A full analysis of the costs of the various transport options is a complex undertaking as it should include not only the cost of cars and fuel, but the costs of parking, of road injuries, of air pollution, traffic congestion and for public transport the costs of the rails and bus lanes and capital cost of busses and trains. A comprehensive analysis of these costs has never been done for Newcastle, but it has been done for Sydney and the results are rather surprising. A Sydney academic Dr Garry Glazebrook examined the  total costs of transport by car, bus and train for Sydney and found that the cost per passenger per kilometre was 86c for cars, 57c for buses, and 48c for trains. When these costs were separated into that portion paid by the user, and that portion paid for by the public at large, car use costs comprise 48c/pKm of user costs and 38c/pKm of public subsidy. Buses cost 19c/pKm ticket price plus 38c / pKm public subsidy, and trains cost 11c/pKm ticket price and 37c/pKm subsidy, so the external costs are remarkably equal across these three travel alternatives as shown in Glazebrooks graph below:

The costs were based on estimates from reputable sources, such as car ownership costs published by the NRMA, Toll road takings of $446 million per year published by the road operators, an economic cost to society of $1.6 million for each road death and $350 000 per serious injury as published by the Victorian Dept of Infrastructure, and a cost of 20c/pKm for road congestion as estimated by the Centre for International Economics. The cost of road congestion accounts for the time and resources wasted sitting in traffic, compared to the equivalent trip done on an empty road.

For the whole of Australia when the $52 billion total costs of car use are compared to the $35 billion total revenue collected from motorists in fuel taxes, GST, registration, insurance, and tolls there is a $17 billion dollar deficit. Every year.

A similar complete analysis of the costs and benefits of building 12 specific cycleways in Sydney was done by Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2009 and published by the NSW government. It shows that the economics of cycling are a net saving of 16c/bicycle Km in transport costs for the rider, and a saving of  32 c/pKm in public subsidies, even after accounting for a cost of 2c/pKm due to injuries to cyclists and a value placed on the health benefits of the extra exercise of 1.4c/pKm. The overall return on building these cycleways for Sydney would be a financial benefit of $1.80 for each dollar spent, and the social benefits would be on top of that.

So, when you see a cyclist making their way to work don’t fret over the fact that they have not paid any fuel tax that day, but rather rejoice that they are effectively subsidising the rest of the community by not creating traffic jams or air pollution, not damaging the road surface, and not taking up road space to park all day. Give them a cheerful wave and know that their good health will reduce everyone’s taxes in future years.


Taking the con out of convenience. The true costs of transport modes in Sydney. G.Glazebrook, Urban Policy and Research, 27;1: 5-24

PublicTransportUsers Assoc

Jun 132012

Riding route 6 west to Uni is a delight, apart from the two dangerous road crossings: Hannell St in Wickham and Maud St in Waratah. At Maud St cyclists must cross a very busy road of three lanes, with obstructed sight lines due to the curve of the nearby railway bridge. For decades cyclists have been calling for an underpass so cyclists can travel in safety along the rail corridor. Some planning work was done in the 1990s by council staff but did not progress due to the difficulty of negotiating with the railway authorities. Now in 2012 the proposal has a new lease of life and is supported by the local Roads and Maritime Service as well as Newcastle Council. Maud St is on a state electorate boundary, and NCM members have had meetings with both Sonia Hornery, member for Wallsend, and Tim Owens, member for Newcastle, as well as Gladys Berijiklian the minister for transport. All the politicians have been supportive, so hopefully the project to build an underpass can move forward.

aerial view of Maud St and railway

As of June 2012 council staff are surveying the area so a detailed proposal can be drawn up.



Mar 262012

There are dozens of bollards dangerously obstructing cycleways in Newcastle, and NCM is trying to get them removed. Please tell us about your unfavorite bollard or cycleway hazard if its not already on our list.





 Posted by at 7:20 pm
Mar 262012

This is one of my favorite street signs, that I found on a small street in a residential suburb not far from Frankfurt. It shows that the rest of the road is a shared zone where drivers can expect to find children playing soccer. In Newcastle any suburb with a grid layout could create cul-de-sacs by selective mid block road closures. This would exclude through traffic so only the people who live there would use the street and it becomes a safe place for ball games, or half could be dug up for community gardens.share zone sign


Mar 252012

The NCC cycling strategy rejects cycleways in parking lanes, known locally as ‘car door death lanes’.

“Experience has shown this type of treatment to be highly undesirable due to safety concerns.”

At last cyclists can expect more than just a bit of white paint on the road.

No more car door lanes.

 Posted by at 12:06 pm