Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ride to Work day

Tomorrow is the National Ride to Work Day with events in most major cities across the country. The idea of a national day is to promote commuting to work  by bike as an everyday option. While this annual day that has been going on since 1998, what effect has it had on increase bike share use in this country. Well according to the new Australian National Cycling Strategy 2011 - 16   our use of the bike has dropped,  though only slightly but given we haven't reached 2% yet its still .1% of stuff all.

There are obviously a number of factors for the slight decline particularly after several investments in cycling infrastructure over that period, though in my opinion not the right type of infrastructure that encourages more people to cycle. If you have a look at the split for cycling for Australian cities, you can see that Canberra leads the nation in mode share for cycling and had the biggest increase in cycling between 1976 and 1981.

So what happened, a major investment and construction of Bicycle paths, arguably the best in Australia which provided safe but not always a direct route to work or other locations. There were several missing links in the network but the focus by the Current ACT Government has been on cycle lanes on roads, like many other Australian cities as a cheap and what they consider, an effective option.

Now I support cycle lanes, but not on major arterial roads with speed limits between 60 - 100 km/h. This approach by Australian authorities is the complete opposite of what is acceptable in the cycling European countries where there cycling rates are much higher,safer and cycling rates continue to increase. Though this is not mentioned in the new cycling strategy particularly from a safety point of view. There seems to be to much focus from the road racing group  in my view not to enforce physical separation of cycling infrastructure on the major roads ,primarily because of the conflict with slower cyclists like children riding to school. But then again when you are hit by a vehicle traveling at 100km/h, at least your wearing a helmet to protect you! right.

Monaro Highway ,Canberra
Cycling super highway, Holland

1 comment:

David said...

Absolutely! I would love to see more investment in the network of bicycle paths. I would love if they were more direct as well, but many people are willing to trade off directness for the perceived safety of separated bicycle routes. (Not to mention that it can be much more pleasant than riding along traffic.)

I commute along bike paths and being able to was a big factor for me in taking up cycling. I don't mind riding on the on-road cycle lanes occasionally, but I understand why they are off-limits for many would-be cyclists. Given that they're central to our bicycle network is it any wonder that commuting by cycling is seen as the domain of the hard-core cyclist (which is definitely not me)?

Incidentally I didn't ride to work today. I'm not up to riding in the rain just yet :(