Call for more cyclists in the streets

We should cycle for better health, for faster and cheaper commuting, for less noise and pollution of the air, and to support our city in its ambition to become a more liveable and sustainable place. Authorities need to lower speed limits for cars and build more bike paths, yes. But we must understand that this is not going to happen until we start with ourselves and create public pressure with meetings, petitions, and by showing our numbers in the streets. The more the merrier, because this is how it works: the more cyclists we are out there, the safer it becomes to be a cyclist on the road.

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I have been living in Geelong 100 days now, and even though I really didn’t think much of my old bike when I lived in Denmark, I can gradually see myself turning into a bicycle advocate here in Geelong. Next Saturday, I’ll be hosting a one-hour seminar on the topic at Geelong Cycling Forum, and in this blogpost, I set out to explain why I think it is important to focus on and discuss these matters.

According the most recent census, the average number of commuters on bikes in the morning is as little as 1 percent in Geelong – a city of 226,000 people.

To compare, in Denmark everyone has a bike, cycling is something we take for granted, and in the capital, Copenhagen, every second citizen use their bike to get to work, study or school every morning. To be more exact, according to the latest survey, the bicycle commuter figure is now 55 percent and on the rise.

The Copenhagen municipality is clearly quite proud of that figure, promoting it on posters and billboards, patting cyclists on the shoulder with more bike paths and bike facilities, and selling the city to tourists as nothing less than “the world’s bike capital”.

Cycling is not just for leisure or sport. It is an investment in well-being and it is part of the reason why Copenhagen won the price as EU’s Green Capital in 2014. And in a decade, by 2025, it wants to be one of the first CO2-neutral cities in the world. The Copenhageners feel they are “part of the solution”, and there is a lot of optimism around this. People are happy to jump on their bikes, and new young people are coming to live in the city. Currently there is an expectation that Copenhagen will grow with 20 percent in the next ten years.

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Geelong: among world’s most sustainable cities
How does Geelong feel about these matters? I checked on the web. For instance, the Future Proofing Geelong site, which is financed by the City of Greater Geelong, Geelong Chamber of Commerce, and a number of councils and authorities.

They write that, and I quote, the vision for the city is that “in 2030, Geelong is internationally recognised as one of the world’s most sustainable cities.” They write they want the city to be a “productive, vibrant and liveable city.”

Wow! What’s that? That is ambitious! They also write that “a sustainable Covenant was signed on May 12th 2011, in which the partners of Future Proofing Geelong agreed to work together to see Geelong become nationally recognized as a city demonstrating sustainability leadership.”

Are they serious? As a new citizen of Geelong, I can only hope they are, because I think that sounds fabulous and a good reason to settle down in a place like this. Geelong has a lot of potential to become a little ‘pearl’ of Australia when you start at the beautiful and well-designed waterfront, and when you look at the cosy little back streets in town dotted with palm trees and old colonial style houses.

But then when you look more in detail at the road infrastructure in the city centre, including its lack of bike paths and facilities to ensure pedestrians and cyclists any kind of space, let alone safety, in the streets, you’ll realise that Geelong still has a bit of a way to go. Something is clearly going wrong — with all the empty buildings, an empty pedestrian street, and a lot of dark shop windows where shops have been closed.

A recent study from New York, USA, investigates the economic benefit cyclists bring to a city, and discovers that when protected bike lanes were introduced in Manhattan there was an increase in retail sales of 49 percent.

Why does that not ring a bell in Geelong?

To figure out what it takes to become a “liveable city” shouldn’t actually be too hard for Geelongites, though. The council of Geelong would not have to look towards distant cities on the other side of the globe, they simply have to look 70 kilometres north – to Melbourne.


Melbourne: World’s Most Liveable City
Melbourne’s city council is keen on following the Copenhagen path. They even invited the world-famous Danish urban planner Jan Gehl to stay in the city half a year and help them set up a vision for how to turn their city into a more liveable place. They have had success with this. Melbourne, according to The Economist, has topped the Most Liveable Cities list twice now, over 140 cities around the world.

And just as one example, they have put together a policy and a “bike package” which totals AUD$ 2.55 million for the next year.

The average number of commuters on bikes in the morning is currently 11 percent in Melbourne, and they want that figure to increase with 50 percent in the next three years.

Melbourne has a ‘Bicycle Plan 2012-16’ for the infrastructure and new bike paths, where they write: “Our Vision is that the City of Melbourne becomes a cycling city”, and they have set themselves a specific target for how many daily bicycle trips they want to see done in their city by 2016: 122,000 – a 50 percent increase.

“Cycling supports our liveability status by taking pressure off public transport, reducing congestion and noise and supporting a zero carbon future. Local cycling trips help people to be healthy and active. The purpose of the Bicycle Plan is to outline actions that will assist people of all ages and abilities to cycle more often,” they write, and also they have understood what I was talking about before concerning the safety issue:

So, does Geelong take inspiration from Melbourne? Does Geelong have a ‘Bicycle Plan 2012-16’?

To my surprise, I haven’t been able to find any on the council’s website. The only thing I can see is that there once was a plan to construct one single bike path in the city centre, back in 2008, but someone started a petition against it and handed over 300 signatures at a meeting of the council, and then that plan was scrapped.

Considering what I read about the great ambition to become a super-sustainable city I thought, no, that can’t be right. So I looked further, and found out that drafts of the City of Greater Geelong 2013-2014 Budget and 2013-2017 City Plan are available right now for public comment at the moment, actually with a deadline for comments from the citizens in the beginning of next week.

Exciting! Obviously, these documents would include a vision for bicycle users in the Geelong region, I thought.

But oh no, I was wrong there. As far as I can tell, they do not. The only thing the council has listed in the budget for the coming year is what it is doing to make Geelong a “vibrant and liveable city” – in full, as they formulate it: “creating an active and vibrant city centre with greater mixed use that is the economic and social heart of the region” – is that they commence construction of the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre. Which is, sorry to say, not going to be on the radar for those potential young, dynamic and vibrant new citizens who’d be considering whether they should try and move to Geelong.

Under ‘Community Wellbeing’, ‘Healthy Lifestyles’ or ‘Environment’, I don’t see bicycles or cyclists or bike paths mentioned with a single word. As the matter of fact, when doing a word search in the 122 page document, you can’t find the word ‘bicycle’, ‘bike’, ‘cycle’, ‘cyclist’ or ‘bike path’ mentioned even once.

A sustainability vision and the vision for bicycle users in the Geelong region is absent.

It is very likeable that there are people in this city who talk about that Geelong can possibly become “internationally recognised as one of the world’s most sustainable cities” – but if there is no money put behind this and there is no plan for how the city centre can become walkable and cycle-friendly, then it is nothing but hollow words and an empty vision.



Health and economy
Let me bring in something which I think is food for thought. Just a few statistical facts that I looked up on the Australian governments sites, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics:

• 63 per cent of Australians are now classed as overweight or obese. (“Obesity has become the single biggest threat to public health in Australia”.)

• Researchers also found 67 per cent of Australians perform little to no exercise.

• According to the OECD: An obese, or overweight, person incurs 25% higher health expenditures than a person of normal weight in any given year.

• Health spending is increasing in Australia. In 2010, it averaged out to AUD$ 5,500 per person.

So, if you combine these figures, and calculate, it means that there is a potential to reduce health expenditures with 15 billion dollars by getting people to move around more, get some exersise. You could build 12,000 kilometres of bike lanes for that amount, every year. To compare how much that is: Copenhagen’s currently got 360 kilometres of bike lanes all together. Melbourne has 52 kilometres of on-road bicycle paths.

In Copenhagen, Denmark, the municipality (city council) calculates in this way: They know that every time they roll out a new bike path on a road, there will be 20 percent more cyclists, and 10 percent less cars in that road. And then they “do the maths”, because based on data from the National Institute of Public Health, they know that sick leave on average drops by one day per 1,200 kilometres travelled on the cycle track. So for instance with those 28 new ‘bike super-paths’ the municipality is currently building, they expect them to be saving the municipality approximately 34,000 sick-days, once they are in place.

icon_small-arrow_RIGHT  More about that here: The real value of cycling

Click to see pamphlet about the Copenhagen cycle super-paths
City of Copenhagen is creating 28 new so-called ‘Cycle SuperPaths’. For each of them, the municipality is making a calculation of how many commuters is expected to be moved from other means of transport to the bike. For instance, on just one of the routes they expect an increase of 53 percent more cyclists annually, saving society for 5,152,000 kilometres of driving by car, totalling 644 tonnes of CO2 saved, and DKK 28.3 million saved in health costs.
See the pamphlet (in Danish language)

According to a 2011-study by ClimateWorks Australia, “shifting to more fuel efficient vehicles, improving driving practices to minimise fuel consumption, and witching some urban car trips to walking, cycling or public transport could save Greater Geelong’s vehicle owners $9.4 million each year.”

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Plain common sense
Could it be that the people of Geelong just doesn’t see cycling as a sustainability or a health issue?

Well, to be frank, we didn’t either when we were riding our bikes to school and to work every weekday in Denmark, and going for bike rides in the nature in the weekends.

I didn’t ride my bike in Denmark because I wanted to be environment-minded or smart and sporty. I did it because it made plain common sense. My bike gave me personal freedom, and I was being practical. Plus that I didn’t mind saving some money while being that which I thought I could use for better purposes than supporting the fossil fuel industry.

But the main reason why I’d routinely jump up on my bike and take off to work even if it rained or snowed, was that I simply didn’t have the patience for public transport. And taking the car equally meant spending time on traffic jams and parking problems, driving around in circles for 20 minutes to look for parking space, and those long walks back to your destination once you eventually found a space, which in Copenhagen you pay six-seven dollars an hour for.

Cycling was simply the quickest way to get to work – six kilometres, 20 minutes, no delays. And those 12 kilometres of cycling combined with taking the staircases in to fifth floor every weekday seemed to keep me in shape – so I didn’t feel I had to worry about going the gym, or fitness, or other forms of exercise that cost money, or going out jogging in the forest, as I do now, living in Geelong. I rode my bike because I was too lazy for all that.

And then at the same time it was great way to save money, I thought: Low spending on maintenance, no petrol expenses, no insurance and tax, no parking fees and annoying parking fines.

A bike is an extention of your legs, and within a city, it gives you freedom to move exactly when you want to move, and directly to where you are heading.

Sometimes I’d be meeting a colleague or a neighbour on the way and we’d be chatting for ten minutes, riding side by side on the bike path which is wide enough for a third bike to pass us – while both would be on the way to where we wanted to go.

For children and teenagers who can’t have a drivers licence until they are 18 years old, the bike is important for them. It means independence and freedom. Who would want to depend on only being able to go where your mum or dad drives you? Not a young Dane. They all have their bikes, and they use it to get around.

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The helmet law
More than half of all commuters in Copenhagen use their bikes every day to get to and from work and school. If wearing a helmet was made compulsory, that figure would be halved overnight, surveys have shown.

Studies have shown that the more people you get up on the bike, the safer it is to be a cyclist. If the roads of Australian cities would be full of cyclists every day, then that would make the roads safer for all of them. That is why people in places like Denmark and Holland feel safe about taking the bike to work or school. It is not a life-and-death decision for them whether to jump up on that bike.

So the argument is that if we want bike safety, then we want to see more bikes on the road.

How to make that happen? Make safe bike paths, first of all. When roads are maintained, use the opportunity to place the white lines on the asfalt at entirely different places, giving priority to the cyclists’ safety. Set up signs and regulations that slow down and control the car, bus and truck traffic. Direct the fast-driving vehicles around the city, don’t allow them to race right through the city. These are obvious measures that don’t even cost much to implement.

The law that makes it compulsory for cyclist to wear a helmet is a bit of a real ‘show-stopper’ in this respect. The bike helmet protects cyclists against the kind of accidents cyclists tend to make by themselves and on their own, but it doesn’t protect them against the real danger on the road: the fast-moving cars, busses and trucks, and the lack of bike paths and safe crossings. To be forced to wear that helmet is like treating the Australians who’d like to use their bikes for active transport – not for sport – as if they were children, while the car drivers are treated like “the adults” who can drive 100 km/h on narrow winding roads in the countryside and no one objects.

As I see it, the problem with the compulsory helmet law is that it is not helping getting more commuter-cyclists up on their bikes and out on the roads. Psychologically, not only does it make you look silly, the helmet is a reminder that you are about to do something which is “dangerous”. As if you were about to enter an industry building ground or start rock climbing. It automatically puts you in a category where you are aware that you are taking a special risk. Which is not even the case. According to an Australian study, 11 times more car drivers die of head injuries than cyclists. But it is the cyclists who are being forced to wear a helmet. Not the car drivers.

It might sound strange, but several studies in Europe have shown that you put cyclists more at risk when you force them to wear a helmed than if you hadn’t forced them. Why? Because 1) The helmet gives the bike-rider a false sense of safety. Physically, they are not doing as great a job as we’d like to think. They actually don’t do much for preventing traumatic brain injuries, such as concussion. And 2) car drivers have been found to become less careful and show less consideration to cyclists when the cyclist wears a helmet.

In Denmark it is a conscious choice based on these kind of studies that authorities don’t force cyclists to wear helmets. It is a free choice. There is not one cyclist federation in Europe which recommends mandatory bike-helmets. They recommend using bike-helmets, but not to force people to use them. Helmets are good and they protect you somewhat, surely, in particular if you drive fast on your bike, but being forced to use them is holding people back from using a bike.

In Denmark, 14 percent of all cyclists wear helmet, according to Danish Cyclists Federation. In Holland, it is even fewer. And at the same time, Holland is the country in the world with the lowest number of fatal cyclist accidents. Because most commuter cyclists really don’t drive that fast. Not even 20 km/h.


Tougher speed limits in the city
Usually, in society, when we want to reduce or avoid damage, we’ll be targeting those who are doing the damage – in this case: those people who drive their cars. So why don’t you do that? If you would reduce the speed limit for cars in the city, you could easily reduce the amounts of fatal accidents with 50 percent over night. (A BBC article says 40 percent). Speed limit: 30 kilometres and hour in the city centre. Simple!

But you don’t want to do that. Think about it: Why not, actually?

As it is, Australian seem to be willingly giving car drivers the freedom to kill – in high speed – whereas cyclists are have their freedom limited,

1) being forced to wear helmets, which generally is something that turns people OFF the cycling, and makes everyone think that cycling is terribly risky – and

2) cyclists need to be on the alert constantly, because of that risk of getting hit by a fast driving car, truck or bus.


Time versus lives
To me it looks as if Australian traffic laws imply that car drivers saving small bits of time is more important than the lives of cyclists. And rather than cultivating a society where cycling is appreciated and encouraged, because it…

• fights obesity and improves your health, saves the employers and society from sick leave payments

• reduces traffic jams and air pollution, as well as

• reduces the carbon emissions which we quite desperately need to find ways to reduce now

…Australians tell cyclists that they must wear a helmet and “good luck”.
If you want to avoid cyclists being killed, but you don’t want to change the infrastructure of the roads to ensure their safety, then at least why don’t you just lower the speed limit for cars? That wouldn’t cost much on the municipality budget – it would only require setting up some new sign posts, and then no one would get killed.

But hey, folks, whether you like bikes or not, the thing is that this “cycling craze” is most likely not going to go away. The more success cities are having with it in Europe and the US, and the more expensive petrol and electricity gets, the more people will be thinking: cycling IS a good idea – and we want to be able to do that as well, here, in Australia.

Once you realise that, there is only one thing to do: and that is to get started with allocating funds in the budget for building those bike paths. And do it right, this time. It is not enough to draw a line on the tarmac. You need “Copenhagen Lanes”, as they are being called: wide and separate paths between the parked cars and the pedestrian walk.

Melbourne seems to have understood this. They write in their Bicycle Plan: “Speed limits, traffic calming, line marking, early starts at signalised intersections and the exclusion of heavy vehicles from heavily built-up areas are an important means of making the cycling environment safer on all roads.”

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Geelong, June 2013
Geelong, June 2013

“Economist Joe Cortright calls this effect the “Green Dividend.” Portlanders, he finds, drive 20% fewer miles every day than the average resident of a comparable metro area. The total money that we save on those miles we don’t drive is $1.1 billion dollars a year. Of this, Cortright estimates that $800 million of this goes right back into our local economy.
That number would be much higher if it included more factors. Driving less allows all Portlanders to enjoy the health benefits of better air quality. And we save a substantial amount of productive time by driving less. Add these factors and our total yearly benefit comes out to $2.6 billion.”

Microcosm Publishing / Resilience – 1 October 2013:
Bikenomics: Bike Lanes on Main Street
Excerpted from the ‘Bike Lanes on Main Street’ chapter the new book ‘Bikenomics’. By Elly Blue



What went wrong?

OPINION PIECE PUBLISHED IN GEELONG ADVERTISER, 21 SEPTEMBER 2013

By Barton van Laar, grandfather and cyclist, President, Bike Safe

“Geelong has a proud tradition of cycling. ‘Local’ champions such as Mockridge, Opperman, Anderson and Evans have all left their mark on the world stage.

Geelong led the way with Australia’s first bicycle plan in the 1970’s.

Then, I was riding to Geelong High, as were over 50% of students. Now, less than 5% ride to school. Some cities and towns have up to 10% of people riding to work. Geelong less than 1%.

Since 2009, six cyclists have died here, 25% of Victoria’s total. So far this year it is 50% yet we have 4.3% of the population. To June, a record 163 cyclist injuries were reported at Geelong Hospital.
This is up 152% since 2009, whilst the rest of Victoria has gone down 91%.

What has gone wrong?

Our infrastructure has not kept pace with growth. We are languishing behind other cities and towns with cycling infrastructure.

There is no safe way to ride into the CBD. Most bicycle lanes are not to standard. Cars park in bike lanes. Intersections make no provisions for cyclists. Bike paths have been allowed to degrade. Arterial roads have no road shoulders. Four of the last six cyclist fatalities were on such roads
Our health is suffering. At current rates, 60% of the population will be obese by 2050. Health professionals agree that cycling needs to be actively promoted with appropriate infrastructure developed. Deakin is calling for better cycling infrastructure, as car parking is a problem.

So is cycling the answer? Yes it is. It is still 20 times less dangerous than not cycling. A majority of car trips are less than 5kms.

Riding delivers economic benefits of around $1.43 per km. That is $21 every time a person cycles 20 minutes to work. Cities become more desirable places to live. Ten bikes can be parked in one car space.

How do we make it safer? There are new strategies out by Council and Governments advocating these facts and opportunities.

Bike Safe has a plan. It is called the Principle Bicycle Network, which covers the Region including the Geelong CBD. It prioritises cycling infrastructure on less roads with better outcomes, makes strategic connections and espouses Next Generation cycleways. The future is separating cyclists from cars. You then attract up to 60% of all people. We have support from VicRoads and the Councils. We just need action.

When you travel, see what others are doing. Noosa, Canberra, Cairns, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne. Geelong also needs to embrace the future, on a bicycle!”

bikesafe.com.au



Losers and winners

“Footage has emerged from Brisbane  showing a cyclist waiting in the left lane at a red light. An Audi comes up behind him and stops. When the light turns green, the cyclist takes off and a few seconds later is knocked to the ground from behind by the Audi. There is no question that the driver of the Audi did not see the cyclist.”


I experienced something similar just the other day. It’s shocking, but apparently quite common here in Australia.

“Without suitable infrastructure, without appropriate government legislation, we are all losers. We potentially lose our mobility; our sense of freedom; our right to safe passage; our alternative to a bumper-to-bumper commute; our enjoyment of a healthy pursuit. It’s time respective state governments began to invest in providing appropriate cycling lanes to service established commuter corridors. It’s time all state governments followed the lead of the Queensland parliament and enacted legislation requiring drivers to leave at least one metre of space when overtaking cyclists.

It’s time the Australian commuting public were offered alternatives to the one-passenger-per-vehicle madness of our current road network. More bike lanes means an increased numbers of cyclists and commuters which naturally leads to fewer cars on our roads and less congestion. Everyone’s a winner.”

» Article in The Guardian by Steven Herrick



Action now

If you live in Geelong, now is the time to get up from the chair

1) Before Tuesday 11 June: Tell the Council of Geelong what you think of their 2014-budget
This is your chance to have your say. You could, just as an example, ask them why they are not allocating funds for new bike paths.

2) On Saturday 15 June: Come to the Cycling Forum at the Geelong Better Block event
If you’d like to see more bikes on the streets of Geelong, come to the Cycling Forum at Beav’s where we’ll be exploring what it is going to take to create some changes in this city, considering the many economic benefit cyclists bring to a city in terms of improved health, less pollution, less carbon emissions, less parking problems, and more personal freedom:

What are the real obstacles — and how do we remove them?

The Geelong Cycle Forum is part of the Geelong Better Block event which from 10am to 2 pm will be centred in the cultural precinct of Lt Malop Street and James Street on June 15.

 

More about the Cycling Forum here:

Geelong Better Block | Innate Ecology – 7 June 2013:
Geelong Residents get on their Bikes
Do Geelong community want a cycle and pedestrian friendly city?


The Fifth State – 5 June 2013:
Geelong Cycling Forum to boost rider numbers
Cycle Geelong will host a Geelong Cycling Forum to discuss the city’s community bicycle transportation including safety, infrastructure and networks. By Donna Kelly


The Guardian – 16 July 2013:
Paths of glory: what might a cycle-friendly city look like?
From elevated bike lanes to spiralling cycle stands, a new book charts innovative infrastructure from around the world. By Oliver Wainwright

 



Cycling Forum

Saturday 15 June 2013 at 1pm

A public discussion about community bicycle transportation, covering aspects such as safety, infrastructure and networks in Geelong — at Beav’s, 77 Little Malop Street

According to the latest census only one percent of Geelong’s citizens use their bikes to get to school, study or work. With numerous transport strategies underway, the audience is invited to join the debate on cycling and “idea bomb” a cycling vision for Geelong.

» Update: You can listen to cycling forum here

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Click to open PDF

• Host: Mik Aidt, a journalist from the cycling city of Copenhagen, Denmark
Barton van Laar, President of Bike Safe
Karly Lovell, Travel and Transport Manager, Deakin University
Rod Charles, local cycling enthusiast, author of the new bicycle book ‘A Whirr of Many Wheels’

Special guests at Geelong Better Block for the day include:
Jason Roberts, cofounder The Better Block, USA
Tamsin O’Neil, owner of the Australian cycling magazine Treadlie, as well as the Green Magazine
The Bicycle Show radio personalities from The Pulse FM.

The forum is part of the Geelong Better Block, where community demonstrates changes they would like to see in our city, taking place outdoor in the local area around Beav’s from 10am to 2pm.


 

How to normalise cycling in Geelong

The forum speakers will focus on how to normalise cycling in Geelong, ranging from community engagement and questions of critical mass to cycling infrastructure, regulation of vehicle speeds and traffic behavior. If we’d like to see change, then what could be the driver to create that change?

The lack of continuous bike lanes in Geelong makes commuter cycling a hazardous and dangerous journey. In Copenhagen continuous and dedicated ‘Copenhagen bicycle lanes’ are used weekly by more than 50 percent of its citizens.

With Geelong residents experiencing greater levels of obesity and poor health, improving the city infrastructure, slowing vehicle speeds and changing our car culture has the potential to improve health and save significant cost. Studies internationally shows that benefits of cycle and pedestrian friendly cities include improved health benefits (study: 1,200 km on bike = 1 less sick day); carbon emission reduced (study: if Australian population cycled as regularly as the Danes, its overall CO2 emissions could be reduced by one quarter); air pollution reduced; less traffic jams and parking problems.

Regardless of what your helmet will or will not do for you, it is clear that bike lanes and other infrastructure do make riders safer. Protected bike lanes reduce injury risk up to 90 percent, according to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health. Another thing that has been shown to help on the safety issue — and this is Europe’s big secret to success — is the experience that more bikes on the streets creates safer cycling.

American researcher Peter Jacobsen found that there is sheer and significant safety in numbers. This is known as the ‘The Amsterdam Effect’. Simply, the more pedestrians and cyclists on the road, the less likely they are to get hit by cars: “Since it is unlikely that the people walking and bicycling become more cautious if their numbers are larger, it indicates that the behavior of motorists controls the likelihood of collisions with people walking and bicycling. It appears that motorists adjust their behavior in the presence of people walking and bicycling.” (Excerpt from Grist Article published 31 May 2013 by Susie Cagle)

In other words, the only thing that’s really going to make cyclists safer is hitting a critical mass of ridership that may trigger a cultural change in Australia. But will that become reality in Geelong without a more supportive infrastructure?

 


Update 29 August 2013:


Geelong-1m-path_aug2013-670

Bike Safe was the driving force in getting this article in one of the local papers in Geelong. As it can be seen on the photo, I was just about the only one in the group who represented the city’s commuters that day when it was announced that a dedicated two-way bike lane is to be added to one of Geelong’s busiest streets, channelling cyclists from the Barwon River into the heart of the city.

 

 


Greater Geelong Cycle Strategy - Volume 1
‘Greater Geelong Cycle Strategy – Volume 1’
March 2008. 158 pages.
City of Melbourne: Bicycle Plan 2012-16
City of Melbourne: ‘Bicycle Plan 2012-16’
October 2012. 44 pages.
Adelaide City Council: Bicycle Action Plan 2011-13
Adelaide City Council: ‘Bicycle Action Plan 2011-13’
October 2011. 3 pages.
Good, Better, Best - The City of Copenhagen s Bicycle Strategy 2011-2025
‘Good, Better, Best – The City of Copenhagen’s Bicycle Strategy 2011-2025’
January 2012. 16 pages.
NYC report: Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets
NYC report: Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets
October 2012. 16 pages.


Click to download the City of Copenhagen idea catalogue which this illustration is taken from

The American Bike Boom

Between 2000 and 2011, bicycle commuting in America was up 47 percent overall and 80 percent in communities that are bike-friendly, according to the US Census Bureau.

The largest increase has been in biking-pioneer Portland, Oregon, where commuting on two wheels has jumped 250 percent over the same 12-year period.

In Washington, D.C., where limos shuttle lobbyists around, biking to work is up 166 percent.

The Dutch use their bikes for 26 percent of all their trips compared with 1 percent of Americans.

Danes use bikes for 19 percent of their travel, while the Germans tap them for 10 percent.

Source: csmonitor.com

 



Geelong Better Block

Take 60 seconds to watch this video, and then you will know what Geelong Better Block is all about:

 

 

Geelong Advertiser – 4 June 2013:
Geelong is Australia’s first Better Block
All eyes will be on Geelong on June 15 when this city becomes Australia’s first Better Block, with the US co-founder of the Better Block program on hand to witness the event. By Margaret Linley


The Fifth State – 5 June 2013:
Geelong going one better
The Geelong Better Block, the first in Australia, will be created on June 15. By Donna Kelly


Learn more about the Better Block idea in this video:



The ‘Geelong Better Block’ event takes place on 15 June 2013 at 10am-2pm in Lt Malop and James Street, Geelong.
The ‘Geelong Cycling Forum’ will be in Beav’s Bar, James Street, at 1pm-2pm.

icon_small-arrow_RIGHT  More information: www.facebook.com/GeelongBetterBlock



 

One comment

  1. great article, refreshing to read the ‘inconvenient truths’, like around helmets, research around critical mass and improving safety by encouraging more bikes. however, the resistance I imagine is significantly large in Australia, despite the amazing work that Melbourne is doing. As to Geelong being an internationally recognised sustainable city in 2030, well, I fear that goal is an outcome of a corporate ‘Program Logic’ type process, where an outcome is the focus, rather than more realistic ‘scenarios’.

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