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23 Feb 2022

Taking A Ride at the Parklands

Many people enjoy taking their bikes out for a cycle at Centennial Parklands, but when things spin out of control for the environment and visitor safety, it's time to hit the brakes...

Centennial Parklands is one of Sydney's most cycle-friendly public spaces, with thousands of cyclists riding in and through the Parklands annually. With dedicated cycle lanes and pathways for riders of all levels of experience, our Parklands are a vital link between the City of Sydney's network of cycleways and the eastern suburbs cycle network.

Even though Centennial Parklands offers the community a range of great facilities, there has been a significant increase in off-road cycling and the creation of unauthorised bike tracks and jumps, particularly in Queens Park.

While these activities may seem harmless, off-road cycling is a major concern for both the natural environment and visitor safety in Queens Park.

Protecting the Environment

As the bushland at Queens Park forms part of the Aboriginal history of the Eastern Suburbs, the area is filled with deep cultural and spiritual values, whilst also housing many wonderful creatures and plants. 

Queens Park contains an area of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS), a critically endangered plant community. Most of the original vegetation in the Eastern Suburbs has been lost to clearing, so it’s vital to protect what’s left of this precious bushland. Damage caused by pedestrians and bicycles is a potential threat that may continue the decline of the ESBS.

Saw Banksia

Centennial Parklands’ Environmental Officer, Amara Glynn, explains, “Damage has been caused to dense native and exotic grasses and shrubs, creating a loss of foraging and sheltering habitat for small reptiles and bird species including the Laughing Kookaburra, Willie Wagtails and the Common Brushtail Possum. Without vegetation, this leads to erosion and problems with slope stability.”
Laughing Kookaburra 

Further devastating results from off-road cycling and environmental desctruction also include:

  • Exposed tree roots from dug up soil holes
  • Trampling of vegetation
  • Removal of undercover plants through skidding
  • Broken tree branches and sandstone outcrops

“Replacement planting may be undertaken in some areas, however, it takes time for young plants to become established enough to prevent erosion and provide habitat for wildlife. There are also costs involved for establishing and watering planted areas.”
- Amara Glynn, Enviromental Officer

Visitor Safety

With over 30 million visitors annually, the Parklands take pride in sharing our wonderful parks with everyone, and always aims to ensure their safety.

To protect our patrons and ecosystems, visitors cannot damage any part of the Parklands, including creating tracks and jumps, digging holes and trampling plants. Off-road cycling, of any kind, is another action not permitted at Centennial Parklands as it impacts the wellbeing of our visitors.
A hole dug up at Queens Park

Local park visitor, Mary, has seen the damage caused by off-road cycling at Queens Park and knows how risky it can be for residents like herself.

“During COVID-19, there was a problem with plenty of kids using BMX bikes at Queens Park, thinking that it’s somewhere remote and what they do doesn’t impact people using the park. Unfortunately, it does impact on other people,” says Mary.
“Kids digging holes with shovels to make riding jumps is such a safety hazard. It’s terrible because plenty of people walk around the park at twilight times and because they can’t see the holes in the dark, they could easily fall and twist their ankle.”

Rangers Manager, Doug Cotton, further explains what’s being done on the ground, “The bike safety issues in Queens Park relate to the unauthorised digging of holes on walking tracks and other areas of the park that are used by pedestrians. Plus, the interaction between speeding kids on bikes and people just going for a walk is another worry.

“The Rangers are doing the best we can to speak with BMX participants and educate them. We’re also working closely with the Horticulture team to repair damaged areas, to ensure Queens Park is sustainable for all.”
- Doug Cotton, Rangers Manager

Our rangers regularly patrol the Queens Park area and can issue fines for off-road cycling and malicious activity.

Rollin' Well at Centennial Parklands

Cycling is a fantastic sport for exercise, fun and exploring the many cycleways out in nature, especially at the Parklands. To make sure everyone has a wheelie great time on their bikes, we ask that cyclists follow our easy rules below:
  • Off-road cycling and cycling on grass or environmentally sensitive areas is not permitted due to the erosion and pedestrian safety issues

  • Cyclist must wear bicycle helmets at all times when cycling in the Parklands

  • Cyclists must observe stop signs

  • Cyclists must not ride contra-flow when on a one-way road

  • Cyclists must not ride in packs of more than 16 riders, or ride more than 2 abreast

  • Bicycle racing is not permitted, unless specifically approved by the Trust as part of an event

  • Riding a bicycle on a footpath is not permitted unless the cyclist is under 12 years of age

  • Cyclists must observe the 30 km/h speed limit throughout the Parklands (unless otherwise notified)

For those wanting a new cycling experience, Greater Sydney Parklands is delivering a new purpose-built mountain bike trail at Western Sydney Parklands, catering for all experience levels in what will be the biggest bike track in the Southern Hemisphere. Stay tuned for more!
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