Cycling in Melbourne Australia
National cyclist survey results launched today at the Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards in Canberra. Link: http://www.cyclingawards.com.au/node/41
A national survey conducted by the Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) and the National Heart Foundation of Australia has found more than 62% of Australians want to be able to ride a bike for transport, but road safety fears are keeping bikes in the shed and off the road. The data released today at the Australian Bicycling Achievement Awards in Canberra found that while more than 60% of Australians have access to a bike, almost 70% were not considering cycling for transport in the near future, even though more than half of those would like to.
According to Stephen Hodge spokesperson for the CPF, the main reasons why people were not riding bikes were unsafe road conditions (46%); speed/ volume of traffic (42%); don’t feel safe riding (41%) and a lack of bicycle lanes/ trails (35%).
More details in survey findings. Obviously.
Totally agree - focussing upon the negatives is not the way to go.
I'm also loving the fact that a few inner-city councils are running commuting cycling classes. ie - how to ride on the road to actually get somewhere.
THIS is something I think an organisation such as BV should be at the forefront of, but are not. So congrats to Yarra, Moreland and I think another one (?) for taking it up.
Actually, the councils in this great city, while not perfect, they're getting the message (and getting it across, too) in my opinion. And, as I've said many times before, Melbourne is a cycling paradise compared to my old town, Hobart.
There's always room for improvement, and to give BV their due, the councils are improving because of BV's work, but local government are generally our friends as a lobbying target even without BV. Councils are very adept at doing what the rate payers want, even if what they want isn't quite what the rules might indicate they should have. Yet, at the same time, they're not so much of a target for "big lobbyists" because big money has the power to backroom deal governments at State and Federal levels.
While we're only maybe 5 to 10 percent of traffic (at best), we'll never get much more than 5 or 10 percent of the funding for infrastructure. So safety in numbers versus "safety to get numbers" becomes a hard, maybe near impossible, fight.
That said, "how to ride" courses aren't sizzle. The real focus of any campaign needs to be like a grass roots version of Metro's "This is me" campaign. A bombers supporter, a barista, a train driver (of the ones I've seen), all talking about life and how train travel just fits into their life, making it easier, happier and full of fond memories. Cycling needs happy, healthy, normal people modelling shiny, happy lives, too. Safety improvements will come with numbers, but we have to get the numbers on the roads first and foremost. More people cycling in traffic more often ;-)
Sounds like we've got around 85 yrs riding b/w us! And it has never been safer! A confluence of laws, infrastructure and awareness have changed the dynamic on the road - there are more cyclists than ever but the rate of accidents/injuries/death have not increased proportionally.
But of course perceptions win - the feeling of danger is always there and yes, it does put people off and I can understand why - the danger is very real!
I would argue that your 'limited success' is incorrect; think about attitudes to smoking - I was a kid it was normal for people to smoke anywhere, now they are almost pariahs. Yes, it took a long time, but attitudes have changed. Attitudes are changing on the road too & cycling is seen as increasingly legitimate. It may well take 10 or 20 more years, but it will improve. There will be a 'snowball' effect; as more people ride and it becomes more mainstream, those people and the people they know will become more bike aware and conscious of the dangers, their driving will be more bike conscious and it will be safer for all. The people haven't spoken yet! They are just mumbling discontentedly as new circumstances prevail (ever rising fuel costs).
The 'death machines' will dominate the road for many years to come, and peoples perception of danger (a very real danger) will remain, but it is changing and will continue to do so; yes, laws will be a part of it, and infrastructure, but in the end it will be society changing that will boost cycling - at least in the cities where it is a viable alternative.
Seriously, find me ONE sober motorist who wants to scratch or dent their tin box of misery. They care about their cars more than they hate us, even if the car is a shitbox.
A neighbour of mine is a case in point. Despite obvious bogan tendencies, a nice bloke, but he admitted recently to spending $10000 getting his $1000 XD Falcon back to roadworthy. It is a bucket of crap with 16 different paint colours. He was innocently telling me how he had to avoid a cyclist because his car had already cost him a bit too much to restore. (The cyclist was one of our idiots by all accounts, no time for the stupid, me, no matter what they travel on.)
As for the drunk, ignorant and sociopathic, they're so rare we're hardly ever likely to meet them and they're as likely to get us on foot, in a car or on the tram, bus or train. Bike accidents are media fodder, not because they're common, but because they're rare and scare the shit out of the audience. I know this because I work in the media.
I care about my car and I care about avoiding hitting cyclists because it could be me on the road, also I care about avoiding accidents full stop, Steve, the way you present yourself does more damage to cyclists image more than anything a fool on a bike does on the road, I feel with each passing topic you are becoming increasingly irrelevent and nonsensical with your comments if you want to present a decent rebuttle how about using a modicum of common sense and stop your usaul obnoxious rants againt motorists ? you come across as some pretensious fop.
I'll take that as a complement, but add that I don't dress well enough to be a fop, really. :-)
As for "my rants against motorists" - I thought I was pointing out (admittedly in a glib way) that motorists DON'T want to hit us, unlike the "motorists see us as targets" comment I was replying to, which clearly tars at least some "motorists" as homicidal, something my argument claims them to not be.
Now, as for "your view" v "my view", I defend to the death your right to believe we must be more conciliatory to the motoring community. I have no need to use name calling or non-reasoned personal attack to rebut your position, I simply believe what I do and allow you to believe what you do. Good day to you.