Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

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Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Wed Oct 24, 2018 6:19 am

This research paper was recently published.

Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?
Elizabeth Butterworth, Dorina Pojani
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
European Transport \ Trasporti Europei (2018) Issue 69, Paper n° 4, ISSN 1825-3997

Not sure if it's been referenced elsewhere, so please ignore if so. Else thought it was worthwhile posting for discussion.

I would personally prefer any comments or discussion to be the result of everyone having actually read the paper (18 pages) but of course I can't stop people from chiming in.

Abstract
In theory, Australian cities are ideal for cycling. In view of their high potential, this study seeks to answer “why Australia is not a cycling mecca.” This is an issue of importance in the current era of grave concern about climate change. The authors have sought input from professionals working in government and non-government organisations across five of the largest state capitals (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide). The conceptual framework which guided the research considers the role of ideas, interests, and institutions in facilitating or preventing policy change in favour of cycling. In addition to identifying barriers, the study provides a set of recommendations on how to overcome those barriers.


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Link to download full paper (pdf):
https://t.co/LyUN8DsWWi

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby human909 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:29 am

Divided we cycle
“Cyclists” are by no means a unitary group. As noted, utilitarian cycling in Australia is dominated by younger, wealthier, and fitter men - the so-called “Lycra cyclists” (Rissel et al. 2010; Pucher et al. 2011). The study participants suggested that people in this group often have little to no preference for separate bicycle paths. Unfortunately, this category includes many male public sector employees themselves, who work in cycling units. When making decisions on cycling infrastructure, they tend to project their preferences, needs, and desires as seasoned and confident cyclists onto the population at large. They see commuters as a homogenous mass and fail to empathise with those who are at different stations in life - for example, a father who needs to ride with his child or a woman who needs to ride in work attire. Common attitudes are that “if it’s good enough for me, then it’s good enough for them” or “if I can cycle to work, then everyone else can.”


As has been said in a thread next door. We need to advocate for the average Jane cyclist, not the Joe the cycling enthusiast.


According to the study participants, a
subconscious thought among drivers is that bicycles are an illegitimate form of transport and “don’t belong on our roads.” The media often perpetrate[sic] this stigma, and programmatic ideas reflect and support car driving as the cemented norm.

Ya think? I wish it also mentioned GOVERNMENT media. (AKA lose you licences and your are screwed campaigns.)

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby duncanm » Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:04 am

Maybe someone can explain to me why the male gender is to blame ?

.. read the paper.. its due to those lycra-clad male public sector employees, apparently.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby Calvin27 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:52 am

duncanm wrote:Maybe someone can explain to me why the male gender is to blame ?


Lol i did see a bit of man bashing scattered here and there - particularly about the 'male dominated institutions'. Driving as a 'male' thing - geez we are not saudi arabia haha.

Anyhow, a somewhat disappointing read that looks like it came out of the arts department with no real critical thinking or quantitative analysis. I'd not have passed this as a paper myself - it reads more like an opinion piece loosely based around a 'framework'. There are several ways to determine critical factors to why Australia is not a cycling mecca, this paper was pretty ineffective at providing any insight.

My personal take would be (in order of influence):
1. Car culture dominance and the flow on effect (infrastructure, safety, investment etc)
2. Overprotective conservative approach to safety. This includes helmet laws, generally parents thinking their kid is gonna die in all conceivable scenarios and generally a more US style litigious environment.
3. Vast distances
4. Snakes (mountain bikers will know what I mean haha)
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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby brumby33 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:25 am

It's incredible that in any activity available to the modern person that Cycling and lycra is the one that sparks the ire of the average motorist pr even the average person.
It doesn't even seem to be that the average bicycle rider gets that much attention if they are wearing normal attire but as soon as they see a cyclist wearing the tight lycra....they go ballistic....especially other guys although I've heard many women voice some disparaging opinions too.
Lycra to male motorists is like them riding down the street in ballet leotards with a massive bulge at the front...it seems an insult to the male fraternity....some seem confronted by these bulges whilst trying to order a coffee from their local café.
Out of all advance products in the sporting world made available to the average cyclist, We know the product does the job that it's expected to do....but ....it's worn in public by not only the super slim club cyclists but also the Mamils that are not always the slimmest specimens in the public arena....I mean to say I personally would not subject the poor public to my frame in such lycra modelling display...I just wouldn't do it...i'd hide it under a pair of cargo shorts :lol:
Many claim, even here that it's because of our helmet law that keeps people away from cycling...I don't agree with this, yes we know that in many Euro-Countries don't force the wearing of helmets but i've seen hundreds of videos from bicycle touring all over the world where helmet wearing is far from compulsary yet most of those who make these vlogs on youtubes pretty much all wear helmets in most occassions......

No...it's the modern car driver who tends to think they are the only ones who pay for the roads they drive on and they get angry especially while sitting in their cages listening to the talkback shock jocks that only just fall short on telling people to run us down....but guys like Derryn Hinch who reckon we are Cockroaches on wheels and should be erradicated.

Excepting some motorways, most roads in the world are legally ridden by bicycles pretty much all round the world, but it's the actions of the motorists, the behaviours, the manners and lack of curtesy is why Australia in general in not a cycling mecca. But it's not only that.....

It's the lack of travel opportunities in such a huge Continent.....rail availability has declined hugely over the past decades, no availability to carry a touring bike fully packed with luggage to be carried without having to be boxed up....Transit buslines are often the same...has to be boxed up....such a PITA.


I think the only way that bicycle travel or commuting can ever be taken seriously is that more people get out there on their bikes untill the right people take notice....money talks...so theres got to be a quid in it for the right people...we've already seen how small communities prosper when rail trails are developed in places like Victoria & Queensland, we've seen the popularity of the rail trails....it works....we just need more of that...more rail trails in the right places and the more people will cycle them....as that quote in the Keven Costner movie said.....build it and they will come!!


Oh well....this is how i see it...love this topic....can't wait to read more opinions on this.

cheers

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:41 am

brumby33 wrote:It's incredible that in any activity available to the modern person that Cycling and lycra is the one that sparks the ire of the average motorist pr even the average person.
...

(Dave)

And yet we see no such unreasoned ire for those fans of other sports who wear at great expense all the club clobber of their adored team. (Nor should we.)

A footy (insert any one of many popular sports as you choose) fan is more likely to be a fat boofhead NOT playing footy than a lycra clad clad cyclist just a fan who doesn't have a bike. Lycra clad cyclists are mostly getting healthier and closer to being what they dress up as than is the fan of many other sporting codes.

(As an aside I think the dislike and judgement is more general than motorists, it just so happens that most people ARE motorists. But others around the BBQ on a Saturday night will side with the same hoary old chestnuts.)
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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby brumby33 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:02 am

Yeah so true Colin, and we've all met the footy meatheads.
But the more its sprouted publicly, the more people get on the same bandwagon.
As far as i'm concerned, for every cyclist hurt or killed, especially those who hit n run, those in the public media arena have blood on their hands. Maybe severe but ....people get pretty angry these days sitting in their cages whilst listening to the shockjocks while they're not going anywhere fast....if only they took a bicycle...they'd be happier and healthier and get to work quicker.
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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby human909 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:30 am

duncanm wrote:Maybe someone can explain to me why the male gender is to blame ?

Let's drop the word blame shall we. It is not conducive to constructive discussion. Let us instead recognize that there is a difference in gender and that can influence things in different ways.

It isn't about blame it is about recognising the influence. No different to highlighting the differences between the needs of cycling enthusiasts and regular riders. There is no blame on cycling enthusiasts, but recognising that the needs and different is important.

brumby33 wrote:Many claim, even here that it's because of our helmet law that keeps people away from cycling...I don't agree with this

I find it odd that you don't agree with a clear a FACT. Argue the extent if you want, but don't stick your head in the sand and ignore peoples choices.

brumby33 wrote:but i've seen hundreds of videos from bicycle touring all over the world where helmet wearing is far from compulsary yet most of those who make these vlogs on youtubes pretty much all wear helmets in most occassions......

What part of optional don't you understand? And try to recognise that bicycle touring is a niche activity. This is like comparing going for a hike compare to walking to the shops.

Your comments completely highlight the problems that are faced when enthusiasts try to project their approach to cycling as suitable for the average joe. It isn't and never will be.
Last edited by human909 on Wed Oct 24, 2018 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby brumby33 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:33 pm

human909 wrote:
duncanm wrote:Maybe someone can explain to me why the male gender is to blame ?

Let's drop the word blame shall we. It is not conducive to constructive discussion. Let us instead recognize that there is a difference in gender and that can influence things in different ways.

It isn't about blame it is about recognising the influence. No different to highlighting the differences between the needs of cycling enthusiasts and regular riders. There is no blame on cycling enthusiasts, but recognising that the needs and different is important.

brumby33 wrote:Many claim, even here that it's because of our helmet law that keeps people away from cycling...I don't agree with this

I find it odd that you don't agree with a clear a FACT. Argue the extent if you want, but don't stick your head in the sand and ignore peoples choices.

brumby33 wrote:but i've seen hundreds of videos from bicycle touring all over the world where helmet wearing is far from compulsary yet most of those who make these vlogs on youtubes pretty much all wear helmets in most occassions......

What part of optional don't you understand? And try to recognise that bicycle touring is a niche activity. This is like comparing going for a hike compare to walking to the shops.

Your comments completely highlight the problems that are faced when enthusiasts try to project their approach to cycling as suitable for the average joe. It isn't and never will be.



Oh I understand optional human909....all I was saying is that of all the vlogs I have seen or read on youtube and CGOAB, all the photgraphs depict pretty much most of those who are travelling to all parts of the world via bicycle wear helmets....sure they not wear them in places that it's not compulsory like here, I don't believe in compulsory human909 but I don't think it's the deterrent we are lead to believe....
Touring cyclists these days are probably more common/popular now than anytime in History due to the ease of travel and visa restrictions are not as tight....so there's a lot more happening and because this is one of my favourite topics, I do watch a lot and read a lot on bicycle tourism and most of them wear helmets even in places where it's seldom seen by the locals. I don't really care about arguing about the merits of wearing v's not wearing...even if the Governments of Australia decided to change the law and make it optional, I'd still wear one....I don't believe it's such a deterrent anymore....you'll always get the anarchists (probably like yourself) but there's more important things to be concerned about...such as motorised traffic and is probably the reasons why there's helmet laws in the first place.
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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby human909 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:50 pm

The research continues to show that helmets are one of many deterrents. And again I'm not sure what touring cycling has to do with this discussion. Even if it is a more popular now than ever it has about as much to do with mainstream cycling as does mountain biking and gravel grinding.

I do agree with that there are other important things to be concerned about. There are many issues to be addressed to improve cycling in Australia.

(Oh and like I consistently say I own more than half a dozen sporting helmets. Only for the safest activity cycling are they legally required.)

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby brumby33 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:20 pm

human909 wrote:The research continues to show that helmets are one of many deterrents. And again I'm not sure what touring cycling has to do with this discussion. Even if it is a more popular now than ever it has about as much to do with mainstream cycling as does mountain biking and gravel grinding.

I do agree with that there are other important things to be concerned about. There are many issues to be addressed to improve cycling in Australia.


Ok I admit I got away from the City centric question regarding why Australia is not a mecca for Cycling but Australia is not just the main Capital Cities, there's a lot of land in between and I've often thought, what differs us from other Continents and the answer is mainly overall infrastructure....Australia is such a huge island with every type of landscape you can imagine, but getting there is the hardest as apposed to Europe and USA where historic populations have built their regions up over a vast amount of time and there's lots of Cities/towns/States and Countries in between.

In many ways Human909, we have gone backwards in this country, whilst we are only a young country as far as infrastructure is concerned compared to those I've already noted, back in the late 1800's to the mid 1900's we had a decent and popular rail network that catered to many smaller regional towns and areas. The Government has gone backwards in passenger transport in those country locations and if I was just to use NSW as an example, the train that used to go up the coast through Byron bay, now a backpacker and tourist mecca, theres only now a bus that takes you from Casino or Murwillumbah, also the train that used to go as far as Tenterfield, only goes as far as Tamworth...., these are only the ones I'm familiar with but theres also a lot of similar stories in Southern NSW and much of Victoria (hence many rail trails) but these services get people out to these places....well they used to....but these can be used again as railtrails. The trains that take those out to regional areas don't cater for bicycles, a train for heavens sake, in the old days of steam used to have a cargo and guards carriage which used to hold these kinds of things...inovations have gone by the wayside.

Australia can be a mecca...but Australia really needs to get it's act together if it wants to be taken seriously in the world.


Cheers

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby duncanm » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:36 pm

human909 wrote:
duncanm wrote:Maybe someone can explain to me why the male gender is to blame ?

Let's drop the word blame shall we. It is not conducive to constructive discussion. Let us instead recognize that there is a difference in gender and that can influence things in different ways.


I'm sorry my use of the word 'blame' has offended you so, but the whole paper is decidedly negative towards the male of the species.

Here's every mention of the male gender in the paper. See if you can spot a pattern:
utilitarian cycling in Australia is dominated by younger, wealthier, and fitter men - the so-called “Lycra cyclists”. The study participants suggested that people in this group often have little to no preference for separate bicycle paths. Unfortunately, this category includes many male public sector employees themselves, who work in cycling units. .. They see commuters as a homogenous mass and fail to empathise with those who are at different stations in life - for example, a father who needs to ride with his child or a woman who needs to ride in work attire.

The institutional barriers to bicycle travel in Australia include .. male dominated institutions

Historically, Australian institutions were made up of male employees, political seats were filled by men, and men were associated with political power (Bjarnegård 2013). This male dominance may explain Australia’s failure to prioritize sustainability issues and its slow rate of progress in the cycling arena. ... However, there is some evidence that Australian city councils with a female majority lean more towards environmentally-friendly solutions than those with a male majority



I can't make head nor tail of the data table on pp7, which would have been instructive when trying to interpret the message of the author.
-- what are the units of 'Population' - thousands? But Inner Sydney has at least double that according to the ABS (211k in 2015)
-- Population density x Area = Population. But not in this universe
-- Inner City Adelaide has ~ 7x the population density of Inner Sydney? Who knew?

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby fat and old » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:39 pm

brumby33 wrote:Australia can be a mecca...but Australia really needs to get it's act together if it wants to be taken seriously in the world.


Cheers

brumby33


Best you stay in NSW with that sorta attitude.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby fat and old » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:42 pm

Common attitudes are that …….snip...……..“if I can cycle to work, then everyone else can.”


Oh yeah, big problem around here.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby brumby33 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 1:48 pm

fat and old wrote:
brumby33 wrote:Australia can be a mecca...but Australia really needs to get it's act together if it wants to be taken seriously in the world.


Cheers

brumby33


Best you stay in NSW with that sorta attitude.


Oh c'mon F&O.....I can only talk on what I see, my experience, my surroundings, it's true that I know little about Victoria albeit my reasons about asking about Melbourne which I want to experience....what is in that sentence that has sparked your remark?
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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby human909 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:36 pm

brumby33 wrote:Ok I admit I got away from the City centric question regarding why Australia is not a mecca for Cycling but Australia is not just the main Capital Cities.

I think this topic is mostly regarding urban cycling, be it capital cities or rural urban centres. Cycling for the masses has always been about shorter distances. 0-5km mostly, 5-15km a smaller number and >15km a tiny minority.

duncanm wrote:I'm sorry my use of the word 'blame' has offended you so, but the whole paper is decidedly negative towards the male of the species.

I don't see blame. I see statements supported by evidence. You say negative, I say recognising an issue. I did search male in the article and read all that before you re-quoted it. Gender plays are role in our society why not recognise it than ignore it.

I work in a traditional male dominated workplace. I still get comments 1.5 years on about how I 'made' my partner ride to a work social event. Try to untangle the vast number of small minded thought processes in that one both on gender and transport choices. :wink:

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby fat and old » Wed Oct 24, 2018 3:46 pm

brumby33 wrote:
fat and old wrote:
brumby33 wrote:Australia can be a mecca...but Australia really needs to get it's act together if it wants to be taken seriously in the world.


Cheers

brumby33


Best you stay in NSW with that sorta attitude.


Oh c'mon F&O.....I can only talk on what I see, my experience, my surroundings, it's true that I know little about Victoria albeit my reasons about asking about Melbourne which I want to experience....what is in that sentence that has sparked your remark?


I'm a hopeless nationalist who is often surprised and offended by the Australia bashing so often seen hereabouts. :lol:

Seriously. Your case was more tongue in cheek tho, I should put a smiley. Soz.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby WyvernRH » Wed Oct 24, 2018 4:06 pm

human909 wrote:
brumby33 wrote:Ok I admit I got away from the City centric question regarding why Australia is not a mecca for Cycling but Australia is not just the main Capital Cities.

I think this topic is mostly regarding urban cycling, be it capital cities or rural urban centres. Cycling for the masses has always been about shorter distances. 0-5km mostly, 5-15km a smaller number and >15km a tiny minority.

duncanm wrote:I'm sorry my use of the word 'blame' has offended you so, but the whole paper is decidedly negative towards the male of the species.

I don't see blame. I see statements supported by evidence. You say negative, I say recognising an issue. I did search male in the article and read all that before you re-quoted it. Gender plays are role in our society why not recognise it than ignore it.

I work in a traditional male dominated workplace. I still get comments 1.5 years on about how I 'made' my partner ride to a work social event. Try to untangle the vast number of small minded thought processes in that one both on gender and transport choices. :wink:


I thought I might chip in here. Not sure if the Newcastle region counts as urban to you big city types but on my commute I would say a good 30% of the cyclists I encounter on the semi-urban part of my commute (Raymond Terrace to Newcastle) are women and once I am in town a lot higher percentage of short distance commuters are women maybe 40-50%? Unsurprisingly a most if not all of the ladies on the longer commute are wearing cycle kit (the dreaded lycra) and most of the inner city commuters are wearing 'fitness gear' which is basically the same stuff - are they MAWILS? Nor do these ladies seem to attract any negative comments be they of whatever body type.

Also, tho I am no longer young and slender I wear racing shorts as they are best for use (I don't wear racing tops tho' preferring a looser fit). I don't see joggers getting hassled for wearing running gear why should cyclists be hassled? Also maybe folk in the Hunter are less uptight than those in the city but no-one has given me grief for wearing cycling gear - ever. A pleasure yet to come maybe.

I would say i do not consider Sydney to be 'ideal' for cycling. It is way too hilly, especially North of the river.

Richard

PS as an aside my wife rides as well, we use the bikes for commuting, touring, sightseeing and shopping. This is just normality to us. maybe coming originally from the UK (30 years ago) we see things differently?

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby human909 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:28 pm

WyvernRH wrote:I thought I might chip in here. Not sure if the Newcastle region counts as urban to you big city types

Newcastle is pretty urban. (By many measures a higher percentages of the Australian population live in 'urban' areas than in most parts of Europe, the US and many other parts of the world.)

WyvernRH wrote:but on my commute I would say a good 30% of the cyclists I encounter on the semi-urban part of my commute (Raymond Terrace to Newcastle) are women and once I am in town a lot higher percentage of short distance commuters are women maybe 40-50%?

They are pretty high percentages women. If accurate that speaks pretty well for Newcastle cycling. Though I don't really know Newcastle and would have suspected a lower cycling rate.

WyvernRH wrote:Unsurprisingly a most if not all of the ladies on the longer commute are wearing cycle kit (the dreaded lycra) and most of the inner city commuters are wearing 'fitness gear' which is basically the same stuff - are they MAWILS? Nor do these ladies seem to attract any negative comments be they of whatever body type.

The influence of the uniform isn't about direct negative comments. To the haters it emphasises difference. To those who don't hate it still emphasises difference and they see it as fit people out being fit. In contrast in Europe or in Carlton/Fitzroy/Brunswick the majority of cycle commuters are just people on bikes wearing regular clothes. It makes a difference in perception of accessibility.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby familyguy » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:37 pm

I was going to dispute that male-dominated thing as well. Majority, yes, but dominated by lycra types? Not currently. Commuters and urban riders I see are on the whole male, yes, but the full-pro lycra as hinted at in the report might make up 15% of that. The rest is probably 50% men in various baggy shorts and commuter shirts with 35% women in all sorts of gear.

That said, there are several barriers to Australia becoming a cycling mecca, not the least of which are driver attitudes perpetuated by several sources at will.

Honestly, if someone asks me if Australia is a good cycle-tourism destination, my answer is no. I spent a good part of the last year driving between Mudgee, Dubbo, Parkes, Orange, Bathurst and Lithgow for work and holidays. They would make spectacular destination for a long 2-3 night ride and sightseeing, but the driver attitudes on display to cars left a lot to be desired as is.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby brumby33 » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:46 pm

Newcastle cycling fraternity has gone gangbusters in the past 2 years, I've been to at least 3 touring chat parties where you have at least 3 guest speakers talking about their bicycle journey's overseas with slide shows etc at Metro Cycles these in Newcastle West....they cater a lot for the touring, bikepacking, Fatbiking and cargobike fraternity in Newcastle, plus Newcastle Cycleways Movement (like a BUG only better) and a good little group on FB calling themselves the Geriatrics Playgroup who are mainly retired folk doing some great rides around the Newcastle region about 3 times per week.....I wish I was still living there...I'd be one of the geriatrics for sure :lol:
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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby Philistine » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:11 pm

I don't agree with the basic premise of the thread. As far as I am concerned, Australia is a cycling mecca (my little corner of it is anyway).

I rode a bike in England from the age of ten. I needed to get around and a bike was the cheapest option. Cycling could be enjoyable during June, July and August, and was mainly misery the rest of the year. The roads were wet 35% of the time (Government statistics).When I turned seventeen, I became old enough to drive a car and rich enough to afford one - and I couldn't wait to dump my bike!

Fast forward forty years (OK you've got me - fifty years), and I ride my bike almost every day. I'm not riding to go somewhere or to get back from somewhere else - every ride begins and ends at home! I'm riding for the pleasure of riding, and no other reason.

Why the dramatic change in attitude? Location (SW Sydney) and climate (excellent for cycling nine months of the year, and not all that dusty the other three months). I have grumbled to anyone who will listen about the unusually cold winter we have just experienced, but who am I kidding? June and July in Sydney would not even count as winter in most parts of the World.

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby g-boaf » Wed Oct 24, 2018 7:48 pm

brumby33 wrote:IWe know the product does the job that it's expected to do....but ....it's worn in public by not only the super slim club cyclists but also the Mamils that are not always the slimmest specimens in the public arena....I mean to say I personally would not subject the poor public to my frame in such lycra modelling display...I just wouldn't do it...i'd hide it under a pair of cargo shorts :lol:
Many claim, even here that it's because of our helmet law that keeps people away from cycling...I don't agree with this, yes we know that in many Euro-Countries don't force the wearing of helmets but i've seen hundreds of videos from bicycle touring all over the world where helmet wearing is far from compulsary yet most of those who make these vlogs on youtubes pretty much all wear helmets in most occassions......

No...it's the modern car driver who tends to think they are the only ones who pay for the roads they drive on and they get angry especially while sitting in their cages listening to the talkback shock jocks that only just fall short on telling people to run us down....but guys like Derryn Hinch who reckon we are Cockroaches on wheels and should be erradicated.


At my work, we have a lot of women who also ride to and from work. So riding isn't just something that is male dominated, at least at my work. Also interesting, none of them fit this cycling chic desirable cycling image that we've seen portrayed here. I guess they are all hurting the uptake of riding because of that, right... How dare they wear activity specific clothing! Haven't they consulted the cycling embassies...

But really, the biggest problem here is the motoring culture. You ride on the roads in Italy and especially France. It's totally the opposite to here. And I'm not talking about cities with lots of paths and those wannabe Dutch riders. I'm talking about out in the country areas with road cyclists who wear helmets. They are respected. Be it riders from other countries, or the locals out and about on their morning or afternoon rides. Even older aged retirees are out on road bikes riding on the roads and in the hills. Getting over there away from the big cities is a great thing, the riding is great and the people in those smaller cities are so incredibly welcoming and friendly.

I'm in an area that isn't one of those trendy inner-urban cycling hot-spots, my area is outer suburban with lots of main roads with heavy traffic, but we got lucky with some reasonable cycleways that aren't just useless 1-2km runs to the local corner shop. They are those evil, high speed, well connected cycleways that allow people to really ride bigger distances fairly easily. How dare they encourage that!

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trailgumby
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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby trailgumby » Wed Oct 24, 2018 9:48 pm

I haven't yet read the paper (will download and print at work tomorrow) but from that diagram in your initial post Alex, one glaring omission is the political economy of the mass media.

Cycling and cycling infrastructure is a competitive threat to the motor industry. The motor industry is a substantial mass media advertiser. It is therefore no surprise that the media blatantly propagandises in its coverage of cyclists with a view to marginalising the threat to to its sponsors.

Does this begin to ring bells for people when considering the coverage by News Corp and Seven West Media of cycling issues, and the constant barrage of negative social media driving conflict on our roads?

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Re: Why Isn’t Australia a Cycling Mecca?

Postby queequeg » Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:20 pm

I think the paper pretty much covered the main issues, and I would have to say that no, on the whole, Australia is not a cycling mecca.

There are clusters of areas where cycling is popular, but the primary blocker for widespread uptake is the appalling treatment of cycling by our elected representatives, which filters its way through to infrastructure projects. Cycling rarely gets any spend because as a group, there's no votes in cycling. However, everyone holed up in suburban estates are motorists, and when they have to use the car to get everywhere because there is no other option, they whine very loudly about congestion and want it fixed.
So, we get in this big cycle of building more and bigger roads at the expense of everything else.

If policy changed and it was made law that any new road being built must include properly designed cycling infrastructure (not this deadly stuff that we currently get), then we might be able to make some progress. The argument seems to be that we don't build cycling infrastructure because nobody rides. This is like saying that we shouldn't build a bridge across a river because nobody is currently crossing the river, so why do we need a bridge?

The second issue is the bogan culture that seems to place cyclists below lawyers and real estate agents. That requires an education campaign and a stricter driver licensing system that punishes drivers for being morons. Right now there is no incentive for anyone to really be too concerned about their license, because if you lose it, well you get it back 3 months later with a full complement of points ready to go again. Bad drivers need to be removed from the system entirely. I am convinced that it's the same people getting fined all the time, so the money is obviously not much of a deterrent. Neither is being caught without a license.

I'll know we have become a Mecca for cycling when anyone can just jump onto a bicycle and ride anywhere they want without having to fear for their life, or consult with 100 people on route selection before leaving.
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