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Safe trails for cycling students

A student rides their bike to university. Photo credit: Eamon Moore

On a standard UC weekday, car spaces are few and far between, and many students accumulate a hefty fare if a day of study is to be done.

So why pay $19 a fortnight when you can get to university for free? Many students are finding alternative modes of transport to get to the university with the cheapest option for Canberra based students being cycling.

However, cycling presents its own dangers. Australian statistics show that over 60 cyclists died on the road last year, therefore any student endeavouring on cycling should do so with knowledge and caution.

The main effort a cyclist can make to ride safe is to keep off major roads and use trails provided for pedestrians and cyclists, fortunately in abundance in Canberra.

Here are some tips for finding the safest bike path for your ride to the university.

South side Approach
When approaching from the south, and to avoid Belconnen Way, the best trail to use is through the Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve. This trail starts on Dryandra Street, just after the Fairfax Street roundabout and immediately after the Kunzea Street turn. This trail will take you past GIO Stadium and onto a path parallel Ginninderra Drive. You will then be able to enter the university from the eastern side. This track has only two road crossings and is in great condition. The map below shows the path from Fairfax Street, past the AIS and along Haydon Drive.

North side Approach
For those students approaching from the north from Gungahlin, Gundaroo Drive has bike friendly paths that lead down to Ginninderra Drive, even bypassing the Barton Highway.
If approaching from the Northwest, be sure to use Lake Gininederra’s surrounding paths that connect to UC through John Knight Park and College Street. Ginninderra Creek has accessible bike paths along its banks which lead riders from as far as Dunlop to the University with only four road crossings. The map below shows the trail along Ginninderra Creek that runs from McGregor all the way to campus.

Before setting off on your trip remember these simple steps.

First, do your research on the paths you want to take. Use online resources like google maps or websites like Pedal Power ACT which give you mapping advice. Have a clear idea of which paths best suit your journey.

Secondly, be aware of rules for cyclists. If you are caught riding without a helmet police can fine you $50. Be also aware of the rights cyclists have in terms of road use. Gain knowledge and become safer.

Third, make sure the bike you are riding is safe. Proper maintenance is good practice for a cyclist. If you don’t have a bike purchase with quality in mind, it improves a rider’s experience greatly.

If you are wanting more tips on paths and cycling safety visit the website of Pedal Power ACT. The organisation works with local government to provide safer roads for cyclists and provides workshops for bike maintenance, riders insurance, and maps to navigate Canberra paths.

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