Good cycling press
Today's Age has a good article on cycling for transport
It's about time? Maybe ... Or maybe they're just seeing what's happening? Anyway ... In today's Age,
Roads Minister Tim Pallas yesterday said that the Government's new cycling plan was about cycling's emergence as a "mainstream" activity.
"We are mainstreaming cycling as a legitimate transport mode," Pallas said at the launch of the cycling plan, in a beautiful little corner of Northcote, next to the Merri Creek — prime cycling territory.
In suburbs such as Northcote, Brunswick and Fitzroy, up to 13 per cent of adults now ride to work.
That's not bad.
The point is made that in the 'burbs it's not as good, maybe distances are greater, or it's more 'conservative' in the 'burbs, everyone's bought in to the car as a status symbol and can't even consider riding for transport?
But in outer Melbourne, cycling remains distinctly marginal: in the city of Brimbank, which covers suburbs such as Sunshine, 0.2 per cent of journeys to work in the CBD are made by bike. In Glen Eira, covering Caulfield, it is 1.7 per cent.
Brumby also said :
"(Cycling) is good for your personal health. It will get your blood pressure down, it will get your cholesterol down. It also takes pressure off the public transport system and our road system,"
"Cycling is now an essential part of the transport plan," the Premier said. "That is a big shift from where we were a decade ago, where really what funds were available to cycling were just an add-on."
All this is good. A big increase in spending, but of course, how it's spend is key. More bikepaths? They're good for beginners, but if you're using bicycles for transport, we have a network of paths in place, that go everywhere. They're our roads and the best thing we can do, I think, is to educate drivers and riders (potential and actual) in effective use and sharing of our roads. Not all that expensive to do - start with adding a few questions in licence tests and the occasional TV add explaining the rights of cyclists on the road to drivers who often are ignorant of the rules and requirements for safe on-road riding.
That's not what's going to happen. They're going to build more paths. BV are thrilled, but BV's real name should be 'Bike Paths Victoria". Making more paths just reinforces to drivers that bikes don't belong on the road and doesn't really help. Bike paths are dangerous for commuters, arguably moreso than roads, especially at intersections with roads, and onroad bike lanes are a disaster.
So we have a step forward in recognition (people are riding! Good!) but the same old BV 'build more paths' bull that now will get more funding and legitimacy. It's not all bad, tucked away at the end of the article is a list of things to do (emphais of the good by me):
- Significantly improving the on and off-road cycling network within 10 kilometres of the CBD.
- Completing cycling networks in the six so-called "central activities districts" — Footscray, Broadmeadows, Box Hill, Ringwood, Dandenong and Frankston.
- Completing cycling links in regional centres.
- Developing bicycle facilities as part of road and rail transport projects.
- Safe cycling programs in schools.
- Campaigns to encourage cycling.
- A review of cycling accidents, and the creation of counter-measures.
- Launching a "look out for cyclists" safety campaign.
- Establishing a public bike hire system for Melbourne.
- Installing 33 bike cages at train stations by the end of 2009.
The last few of these are good. Very good. I hope they don't get swallowed up in 'bike path mania'.