Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

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Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby AUbicycles » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:54 am

Would it be fair to say that the society is now largely changing with regard to the views on bike riding and cyclists?

Mass media is my reference and I think we are seeing a shift where a lot of reporting previously was anti-cycling and included victim blaming, now I perceive a number of the Australian mass media outlets which now will only have or predominantly publish neutral or support reporting on cycling topics.

Television and radio when it comes to opinion style commentary (shock jocks and breakfast programs) is still problematic. In the Fairfax SMH, for a while their print articles have often been balanced (neutral) or supportive along with AFR. Tabloids are a mixed back though in Daily Telegraph occasionally comes up with an article which positions bike riding as positive.

The governments are still well behind the mark, the federal government generally absent and state governments doing fair less than they should be, especially the NSW government. Many local governments are progressive (some try to be but failed because a bit of paint on backroads is not real bike plan). Local governments are also held up from the state governments who many rely upon for direction, support and funding.

Are we now in the midst of a change where the greater society wants to embrace bike riding more?

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:38 am

No. Not even close. IMO.

Edit: My reference is actual bums on cycling seats. Number of bikes in bike racks at schools.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby JPB » Sun Apr 29, 2018 9:36 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:No. Not even close. IMO.

Edit: My reference is actual bums on cycling seats. Number of bikes in bike racks at schools.


I am not commenting on overall attitude but I dont think there will be a major shift back to cycling to school until cycling becomes normalised again in the general community.

And was there a golden age of cycling to school? Around 40 years ago when I was at school in suburban Sydney there were only a couple of us riding to school ( and i would tow a kayak on a trailer on sports day - I must dig a photo out at some point )

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby b4igo » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:01 am

I too have noticed the SMH has been more positive towards cycling recently, however in the general population it feels worse than ever.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby b4igo » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:05 am

Growing up in Adelaide it was quite a bit more common. Out bike lockup at high school in the late 80’s was always pretty full... maybe 50+ bikes.


JPB wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:No. Not even close. IMO.

Edit: My reference is actual bums on cycling seats. Number of bikes in bike racks at schools.


I am not commenting on overall attitude but I dont think there will be a major shift back to cycling to school until cycling becomes normalised again in the general community.

And was there a golden age of cycling to school? Around 40 years ago when I was at school in suburban Sydney there were only a couple of us riding to school ( and i would tow a kayak on a trailer on sports day - I must dig a photo out at some point )

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:54 am

JPB wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:No. Not even close. IMO.

Edit: My reference is actual bums on cycling seats. Number of bikes in bike racks at schools.


I am not commenting on overall attitude but I dont think there will be a major shift back to cycling to school until cycling becomes normalised again in the general community.

And was there a golden age of cycling to school? Around 40 years ago when I was at school in suburban Sydney there were only a couple of us riding to school ( and i would tow a kayak on a trailer on sports day - I must dig a photo out at some point )

In the 1970s when I was at school, it was exceptionally rare for a kid to get a lift to school in a car. You walked, rode a bike or caught the bus. Maybe 150 bikes in an entire section of the school yard devoted just to bike racks. You had to remember where you chained your bike there were that many!

Indeed there were dedicated cycle training facilities where school kids were sent for training at a facility with closed roads with its own traffic lights and all the various road markings and intersection types to teach kids about riding safely, understanding road rules etc. It was part of the school curriculum!

Finding pictures is a bit hard but some examples:

Not my schools but this is an example of a smaller Canberra school of about that era (a bit earlier, mid-late 60s):
Image

Image

And a bigger school, Woden High circa 1969/70:
Image

Nowadays it's a conga line of SUVs with barely a bicycle in sight.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby eldavo » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:05 am

Re: bicycle education in curriculum, it now isn't in the curriculum, not funded by default like swimming lessons are for the same reasons of essential life skill for navigating our environment as a child in school, and a platform for life.

We can look at what legacy Tony Abbott left as PM for cycling compared to school chaplain funding for a pointer of cycling attitudes in society.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby twowheels » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:51 am

AUbicycles wrote:Are we now in the midst of a change where the greater society wants to embrace bike riding more?


Yes I believe that society does want to embrace bike riding more. Imagery such as this
Image
appeals to the notion of bike riding being free, the possibility of riding a bike dressed for a destination.
Thus so many images on BNA's Cycle Chic thread come from Europe rather than Sydney or Melbourne. http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=22013&start=2475&hilit=cycle+chic

Not too many Australian images on that thread, nothing chic about this look Image

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby brumby33 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:01 pm

JPB wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:No. Not even close. IMO.

Edit: My reference is actual bums on cycling seats. Number of bikes in bike racks at schools.


I am not commenting on overall attitude but I dont think there will be a major shift back to cycling to school until cycling becomes normalised again in the general community.

And was there a golden age of cycling to school? Around 40 years ago when I was at school in suburban Sydney there were only a couple of us riding to school ( and i would tow a kayak on a trailer on sports day - I must dig a photo out at some point )


I also used to cycle to school in Kotara, Newcastle in the early 70's and would give it no thought, I also caught the school bus as well but living in the baby boomer times, buses were often chockablock by the time it got to my stop and often they'd fly past with kids right up to the windscreen. Buses were much smaller back then than now, so often i would ride to and from school, maybe around 3kms each way.
I would then ride up to the paper shop to do my paper run i inherited from a friend. I did that for a couple of years on a boys 26 inch single speed with backpedal brakes...i saved up and bought myself a mens 28 inch bike with all the bells and whistles including high & low beam lights from a tyre spun dyno and a cable speedo that went up to 50mph...i did it once coming down Carolyn street Adamstown heights on a 3 peed sturmy Archer hub :mrgreen:
But even in Newcastle, as shopping centres became larger, so the amount of traffic has virtually tripled or more, now its pretty darn scary.

I returned to live in Newcastle back in 2010 till 2016 and refrained to ride in places now that i wouldn't hesitate back in 1975, although Newcastle is so much more rideable than much of Sydney on a pro-rata scale.

I think thats why in Sydney you scarcely see kids riding due to the traffic and kids living in cotton wool families today.

I once asked a lady why she drove her kids to school everyday and her reply was " no kid of mine is gonna ride in a school bus" and i then asked how far are they away from the school..." just up the road but theres too many crazies out there these days" wow!!

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby find_bruce » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:17 pm

I think people are missing the concept of tipping point - not that we are in a period of cycling Nirvana, or even that things are good, but that the blind hatred & bigotry has reached its high point and is now on the decline

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby human909 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:31 pm

I don't see the wider attitude changing in a hurry.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/vict ... 4z9uw.html

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby LateStarter » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:32 pm

find_bruce wrote:?...but that the blind hatred & bigotry has reached its high point and is now on the decline


The email regarding this does not seem to have reached NSW Police (Pedro etc) yet. Most of the current bicycle infrastructure spending is still in the "mostly beneficial to motor vehicles" class, ie get bicycles off the roads. We have a long long way to go yet.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby brumby33 » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:11 pm

LateStarter wrote:
find_bruce wrote:?...but that the blind hatred & bigotry has reached its high point and is now on the decline


The email regarding this does not seem to have reached NSW Police (Pedro etc) yet. Most of the current bicycle infrastructure spending is still in the "mostly beneficial to motor vehicles" class, ie get bicycles off the roads. We have a long long way to go yet.


How about Federal Government whack an additional 5cpl on the price of petrol & Diesel to wholey and soley pay for world class cycling infrastructure nation wide, it'd create thousands of jobs, get bikes off the road, get more people on bikes, will boost up bicycle Tourism, the money could also go towards the Nation's Passenger rail network to provide additional carriages with seating and large bagges such as unboxed bikes...i'd be more than happy to pay extra for all that.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby eldavo » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:24 pm

No need to tax more. Just Westconnex less. The systemic corruption is broad spectrum and deep.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby Tequestra » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:36 pm

AUbicycles wrote:Would it be fair to say that the society is now largely changing with regard to the views on bike riding and cyclists? ...
Are we now in the midst of a change where the greater society wants to embrace bike riding more?


There seems to me no doubt that cycling in the way of commuting around town in Perth is being promoted by the councils, governments, and also the ABC, more this year than last year, and more in the last few years than at the start of the century, perhaps the decade. A gradual increase, but my memory is not very accurate over the entire 18 years. Now there is almost critical mass. Forty-one percent of commutes in Copenhagen are currently cycled. That's the target.

Bicycle signs and green bicycle lanes with white bicycles painted on them, they are sprouting up everywhere, or maybe I was not looking so closely before 2016 when I thought about cycling again? One of the ABC's standard lines is pro-cycling, and that has a massive influence on the progressive lobbies. Most of the cars I encounter this year on the roads are much more inclined to follow the 1m-> rule and give me a wide berth, and mostly it is all a good, community feeling in the vibes this year, for a change. Bicycles are in fashion this month, indubitably. Nothing is going to stop us now.
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby twowheels » Sun Apr 29, 2018 1:59 pm

LateStarter wrote:
find_bruce wrote:?...but that the blind hatred & bigotry has reached its high point and is now on the decline


The email regarding this does not seem to have reached NSW Police (Pedro etc) yet. Most of the current bicycle infrastructure spending is still in the "mostly beneficial to motor vehicles" class, ie get bicycles off the roads. We have a long long way to go yet.


The provision of dedicated bicycle infrastructure is at the heart of Copenhagenize, ie provide dedicated bicycle paths. https://www.bookdepository.com/Copenhagenize-Mikael-Colville-Andersen/9781610919388
Like the author says, if around the world you like the idea of Copenhagen & Amsterdam cycling, cut & paste rather than reinvent the wheel.
This is not to say that bicycles cannot also be on the road or the footpath ... better to read the book yourselves.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby LateStarter » Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:51 pm

Here (Sydney), on the front lines of the battle it still feels like the cars have not yet surrendered and our forward thinking state government is still sinking tens of billions into motorways. The "Copenhagenize" approach commenced in the 1960/1970s Europe and while Australia is often 50 years behind the curve in many things I think we might leap ahead by paying attention to the more recent visions to remove diesel and then petrol vehicles from European cities, within the next 20-25 years and remove all vehicles from city centres. The replacement vehicles will be more or less autonomous with super human spatial awareness. In this case they will be capable of sharing the road, something the human controlled ones could / can never achieve. In this scenario we don't need bicycle lanes as all roads will be safe for humans and human powered transport. The country roads I mostly cycle on are never going to have separated cycle lanes so I would prefer to address the problem at its source, by removing humans from control of lethal machinery

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby trailgumby » Sun Apr 29, 2018 5:40 pm

LateStarter wrote:
find_bruce wrote:?...but that the blind hatred & bigotry has reached its high point and is now on the decline


The email regarding this does not seem to have reached NSW Police (Pedro etc) yet. Most of the current bicycle infrastructure spending is still in the "mostly beneficial to motor vehicles" class, ie get bicycles off the roads. We have a long long way to go yet.

Apparently that is the purpose of bicycle lanes, according to my local traffic sergeant Nino Jelovic aka Mr Angrypants.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby antigee » Sun Apr 29, 2018 6:31 pm

might have been a realisation by some that what makes urban areas liveable isn't multilane highways but not a tipping point - just some token gestures that don't add up to a whole heap of beans

when politicians start reacting to reports from bodies like Ausroads and demanding that a way is found to make roads safer for people other than those who want to get home quicker in their cars

plenty of pre election new road building announced in Melbourne today I doubt if the design of these roads will be influenced by this Ausroads report from January:

https://www.triplem.com.au/news/nationa ... ust-30kmhr

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby queequeg » Sun Apr 29, 2018 7:34 pm

I’m not really holding out any hope for Sydney.
I have grown up at a time when Pennant Hills Rd was one lane each way, and was expanded, the freeway was extended from Berowra back to Wahroonga, then we had the M4, M2, M5, M7...and tunnels galore. Every time, it’s always the same story “the missing link that will solve congestion”.

With the NorthConnex supposedly diverting traffic off Pennant Hills Rd, you’d think we could look forward to reclaiming some space and getting a proper cycleway all the way from Hornsby to the M2, and lowering the surface rd to 50km/h between the M2 & M1.

We have never really got anything meaningful in terms of cycling infrastructure. Things like the M7 path are nice, but go from nowhere to nowhere, as the links to it just aren’t there.
Local cycling facilities usually means cans of paint.

Long term, I can’t see myself staying in Sydney. We’ll probably stick around until the house is paid off, then cash out for a simpler and less hectic lifestyle so where more cycle friendly.
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby AdelaidePeter » Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:01 pm

I think society's attitude is nowhere near as bad as most people on this board say it is; and I don't think it's changed much one way or the other in the last couple of years.

As for cycling to school, there are a lot of other factors here, e.g. general attitudes to children and safety; and the shift to most families having one car per parent, combined with a routine where one parent drops the kids at school on the way to work. I don't think we'll ever get back to the numbers from the days when, for many children, dad took the only car to work, so the only options for getting to school were walk or bike.

Cycling was never on the curriculum, at least not at my school in SA. I don't think one excursion to a road safety centre counts.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Apr 30, 2018 7:32 am

find_bruce wrote:I think people are missing the concept of tipping point - not that we are in a period of cycling Nirvana, or even that things are good, but that the blind hatred & bigotry has reached its high point and is now on the decline

IMO it can only be a tipping point if actual cycling participation has turned the tide and is going in the right direction (as a proportion of options), and the canary in the coalmine for me is school age children on bikes.

Why kids on bikes? Because that's the ultimate expression of the confidence society has and the investment society makes in cycling as a safe, sound and legitimate means of transport, recreation and attaining better health and environmental outcomes.

Keep in mind we have reached a point where we have a generation of kids with parents who never regularly rode a bike as kids themselves.


But let's put my argument to one side and address the claim we've reached a nadir of displays of hatred and bigotry and the way it is portrayed in the media.

Is this really true? Perceptions of attitudes and what the media report compared with actual expressions of attitude and what the media actually report are two different things.

Do we have data on the volume and nature and trends in the expressions of hatred and bigotry out there? Show me the actual data on the volume of stories and the balance of those stories in the media. And perhaps also weight them based on the influence level such publications have with the general public.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby g-boaf » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:06 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
find_bruce wrote:I think people are missing the concept of tipping point - not that we are in a period of cycling Nirvana, or even that things are good, but that the blind hatred & bigotry has reached its high point and is now on the decline

IMO it can only be a tipping point if actual cycling participation has turned the tide and is going in the right direction (as a proportion of options), and the canary in the coalmine for me is school age children on bikes.

Why kids on bikes? Because that's the ultimate expression of the confidence society has and the investment society makes in cycling as a safe, sound and legitimate means of transport, recreation and attaining better health and environmental outcomes.

Keep in mind we have reached a point where we have a generation of kids with parents who never regularly rode a bike as kids themselves.


But let's put my argument to one side and address the claim we've reached a nadir of displays of hatred and bigotry and the way it is portrayed in the media.

Is this really true? Perceptions of attitudes and what the media report compared with actual expressions of attitude and what the media actually report are two different things.

Do we have data on the volume and nature and trends in the expressions of hatred and bigotry out there? Show me the actual data on the volume of stories and the balance of those stories in the media. And perhaps also weight them based on the influence level such publications have with the general public.


There are a few kids on bikes around my area now, mainly because we have some cycleways around the place.

The bit I've bolded on your reply is a very serious problem.

I have noticed more and more hatred from the general public, even a walker who whinged that I didn't use a bell. But I did slow right down and call out. I was so fed up with her rant that I stopped, put my bike to one side and had a polite discussion highlighting why I prefer to call out and tell walkers which side I'm passing on and why I don't just ring a bell and blast on past. The old bat eventually apologised. That wasn't in my local area though. In my local area I have no problems at all.

AdelaidePeter wrote:I think society's attitude is nowhere near as bad as most people on this board say it is; and I don't think it's changed much one way or the other in the last couple of years.

As for cycling to school, there are a lot of other factors here, e.g. general attitudes to children and safety; and the shift to most families having one car per parent, combined with a routine where one parent drops the kids at school on the way to work. I don't think we'll ever get back to the numbers from the days when, for many children, dad took the only car to work, so the only options for getting to school were walk or bike.

Cycling was never on the curriculum, at least not at my school in SA. I don't think one excursion to a road safety centre counts.


It isn't here either, and it isn't on the school sports either. We have sports like AFL, the various Rugby codes, etc on the list of school sports, but never cycling. Try finding even a sports high school that has anything specific to cycling. Unless I'm very much mistaken, such a thing doesn't exist. So if a kid has the gift for riding, it's up to the local cycling club to nurture that and the kid then has to try and work that around school sport, even if the school sport is completely and totally unrelated.

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby BobtheBuilder » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:24 am

This is not totally relevant, but in 2002 I rode from Sydney to North Queensland and in 2010 from Brisbane to Sydney and in that time I noticed a huge change, for the positive, in driver behaviour.
I live in the remote NT and drivers are always considerate here (including road trains, if it's safe for them to move over - if it's not, you've got a lot of time and space to pull over onto the huge unpaved shoulders) in my experience, mostly moving well over into the oncoming lane if possible, or slowing well down if not.

Regarding tipping points, children may not be the tipping point - if there were significant change in adult riding behaviour, there could be a lag until kids riding behaviour/frequency changed. As others have noted, children's non-motorised trips as a whole are way down as they are molly-coddled into dysfunction, so that's another reason not to see them as a good indicator.

As another commenter noted, Sydney is a basket case - they won't be satisfied until it's all concrete, at which time there'll be no more room to put in cycling infrastructure. I think it's time to go back to more militant action like Critical Mass (before it started playing nice with the police in the early 2000s and killed itself), but coupled with practical policy proposals. This could include physically "installing" bike infrastructure where the various levels of government refuse to. But in Sydney's apolitical society I can't see that level of group action ever happening ...

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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby AdelaidePeter » Mon Apr 30, 2018 11:50 am

g-boaf wrote:
AdelaidePeter wrote:Cycling was never on the curriculum, at least not at my school in SA. I don't think one excursion to a road safety centre counts.


It isn't here either, and it isn't on the school sports either. We have sports like AFL, the various Rugby codes, etc on the list of school sports, but never cycling. Try finding even a sports high school that has anything specific to cycling. Unless I'm very much mistaken, such a thing doesn't exist. So if a kid has the gift for riding, it's up to the local cycling club to nurture that and the kid then has to try and work that around school sport, even if the school sport is completely and totally unrelated.


There's one in SA: https://www.education.sa.gov.au/sites-a ... t-programs

It's not just cycling. Try finding a school which specialises in any sport with relatively low numbers, e.g. lacrosse. Mind you, I'm not a fan of specialty sport schools.

Anyway, I'd say Australian attitudes to cycling as a sport are quite good.

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