The Port Phillip and Stonnington bicycle users groups, along with other members of the public, braved the rainy Melbourne weather last week on a large group ride to raise awareness for bicycle safety.

The Critical Mass Ride - bicycling event open to everyone and usually held on the last Friday of every month - sees people meet at a set time and location and ride through their neighbourhoods on bikes. It is replicated by other groups around the world.

Member of the Stonnington Bicycle Users Group, Matthew Katzen, 27, said the rides bring the community together, and aim to show governments people genuinely want to ride their bikes and get around their community safely, but cannot because of poor bicycle infrastructure.

He said: “There's definitely safety in numbers in these kinds of events when you're riding with a couple hundred people.”

Katzen said safety was the number one barrier for people who wanted to get into cycling and research showed that three out of four people would like to cycle more, but are too concerned about a lack of safe lanes.

He said: “Melbourne has a very big bicycle community but has a poor safety track record, largely because of its lacklustre bicycle infrastructure.” 

Katzen bikes to get around the community, do his shopping and get to work in the city. He also enjoys riding with others who are passionate about cycling.

He said: “I got into a bit more when I moved into a more urban area. I found it was a lot more convenient for me to get around. It gets me out and about. It's good exercise, it's good for my mental health.”

Katzen said he and other advocates for safer biking infrastructure meet up every few weeks and chat about what they’d like to see in the community.

Riding from Federation Square through to Alma Park on March 31, Katzen said that although the weather wasn’t ideal, the group of over 100 people had a successful and safe ride.