Cyclists across Sydney have sprung to the defence of Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore in the face of a Daily Telegraph campaign against bike paths.
The News Limited tabloid used its front page on Wednesday to claim Sydney residents had sent a message to Cr Moore - "we're over your bikes" – citing state government figures showing bike use had dropped in the past decade.
But these figures captured bike use across Sydney's Greater Metropolitan area, which extends south past Wollongong almost to Batemans Bay and north past Newcastle to Nelson Bay.
In the inner city – where Cr Moore has campaigned for more bike paths and where Barry O'Farrell's government last week committed to a major expansion of bike paths – the number of cycling trips has doubled in the past couple of years.
In response to the story, Cr Moore used Twitter to ask cyclists to tell the paper if they were cycling and why using the hashtag #onyerbike.
Hundreds replied, making #onyerbike one of the top-trending topics in the world on Wednesday.
The Telegraph's story cited the Bureau of Transport Statistics Household Travel Survey as showing that the number of trips by bike across Greater Metropolitan Sydney as dropping from 101,000 a day in 2002 to 95,000 a day in 2012.
But the survey said this figure was subject to "high standard errors" because of a small sample size, and included the Illawarra and Hunter regions.
Another government report, the City Centre Access Strategy released last week, showed that the number of cycling trips in the inner city has doubled from 25,000 a day to 50,000 between 2010 and 2012 "and significant future growth is anticipated."
"Research suggests two-thirds of inner Sydney residents would ride to work at least once a week if they had access to separated bike paths for the full distance of their trip," said the document, which was released by Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian and self-proclaimed "bike lane sceptic" Roads Minister Duncan Gay.
In a statement on Wednesday, Cr Moore also cited the latest bike count figures across the CBD, that showed a significant increase in the past year. On the Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway near Upper Fort Street there were 2248 trips a day, up from 1730. At the intersection of College, Liverpool and Oxford Streets there were 2230 trips a day, up from 1795.
The O'Farrell government's City Centre Access Strategy, which commits to two new east-west bike crossings of the city and another north-south corridor down Pitt and Castlereagh Street, has been warmly welcomed by Sydney business figures.
Daily Telegraph editor Paul Whittaker has been contacted for a response.