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

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

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:32 pm

I'm not really talking about cycling as a sport though but rather as a normal part of life. Cycling is no longer a normal part of Australian life. People who ride bikes are society's fringe dwellers.

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

Postby human909 » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:38 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:People who ride bikes are society's fringe dwellers.


Pretty much this. My partner and I rode to my work's Christmas function last year and the looks of shock were obvious and many openly bemused comments. Also it was commented "I can't believe you made her ride." Not sure whether that was sexism, transportism or what at play but I don't(can't) make my partner do anything. We both rode because it was convenient, faster, cheaper, no parking worries and no worries about 0.05BAC.

Among my peers and in my suburb it is normal to ride. But that is the exception not the rule.

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

Postby g-boaf » Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:46 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:I'm not really talking about cycling as a sport though but rather as a normal part of life. Cycling is no longer a normal part of Australian life. People who ride bikes are society's fringe dwellers.


I'm thinking about it from both angles actually. I've seen so called "education" encouraging people to ride as far left as possible. Which is of course inviting close passes and the inevitable being crashed into the kerb (and then ending up under the wheels of the passing car).

Getting kids involved with cycling as a sport might be one way to get the parents to behave better in their cars, possibly. But it just struck me as a big empty space in school sports.

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

Postby Scintilla » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:28 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote: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

Kew Traffic School. Still there.

https://goo.gl/maps/ToGsBwx37s32

Image

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

Postby Scintilla » Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:42 pm

brumby33 wrote: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,


I can just see Joe Average in his Foulcan or MercAudi just lovin' that :o :(


brumby33 wrote:it'd create thousands of jobs, get bikes off the road



Bicycles are road vehicles, ALWAYS!! Do not support any program that tries to negate that most basic right.

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

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue May 01, 2018 6:29 am

Scintilla wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote: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

Kew Traffic School. Still there.

https://goo.gl/maps/ToGsBwx37s32

Image


Cool! That's similar to the sort of thing I remember going to as a kid.

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

Postby JPB » Tue May 01, 2018 7:47 am

I dont know if we have reached the tipping point yet but I think there is a chance that things are improving.
Looking now, are bike sales increasing in areas where the is room to ride a bike in a relatively safe manner? On line stores really only cater for the enthusiast who already know what they want/need but looking around my area I am not seeing physical bike shops close and with the number of 99Bikes stores that are opening around the place there must be a growing market out here.
And I am seeing more mid-life people cruising around on the bike paths ( and shock horror on the footpaths ). And as the number of riders grows hopefully attitudes will improve and governments will see the good in further investment in bike friendly infrastructure.
So yes, I think things are heading in the correct direction but sadly there will always be the anti-social few that wreck things.

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

Postby fat and old » Tue May 01, 2018 8:10 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:
Scintilla wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote: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

Kew Traffic School. Still there.

https://goo.gl/maps/ToGsBwx37s32

Image


Cool! That's similar to the sort of thing I remember going to as a kid.


Used to be one in Carlton Gardens, where the Museum is now. Probably went south when that was built actually.

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

Postby queequeg » Tue May 01, 2018 8:26 am

Scintilla wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote: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

Kew Traffic School. Still there.

https://goo.gl/maps/ToGsBwx37s32

Image


There’s a similar one in Sydney, at Sydney Park. They run clinics for the kids there:-

http://www.sydneycycleways.net/projects ... ike-track/
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby g-boaf » Tue May 01, 2018 8:29 am

Scintilla wrote:
brumby33 wrote: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,


I can just see Joe Average in his Foulcan or MercAudi just lovin' that :o :(


brumby33 wrote:it'd create thousands of jobs, get bikes off the road



Bicycles are road vehicles, ALWAYS!! Do not support any program that tries to negate that most basic right.


I totally agree with you on the last bit you've put in bold. I'd love more cycleways, but if it makes a perception or reality that a bicycle is not allowed on the road anymore, then I won't support that.

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

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue May 01, 2018 9:07 am

JPB wrote:I dont know if we have reached the tipping point yet but I think there is a chance that things are improving.
Looking now, are bike sales increasing in areas where the is room to ride a bike in a relatively safe manner? On line stores really only cater for the enthusiast who already know what they want/need but looking around my area I am not seeing physical bike shops close and with the number of 99Bikes stores that are opening around the place there must be a growing market out here.
And I am seeing more mid-life people cruising around on the bike paths ( and shock horror on the footpaths ). And as the number of riders grows hopefully attitudes will improve and governments will see the good in further investment in bike friendly infrastructure.
So yes, I think things are heading in the correct direction but sadly there will always be the anti-social few that wreck things.


Not sure bike sales are indicative of an improvement in actual cycling rates. Population growth rates are higher than bicycle sales growth rates.

In the decade 2007-2016, the Australian population grew by 15.8% (3.3 million).
Bicycle sales in the same period were flat. They bounce around a bit year to year but just as many (indeed about 9300 more) were sold in 2007 as 2016 but the sales numbers are flat.

Image

That said, the 2017 figures are anomalously high relative to a decade long trend of zero growth so I would be waiting for 2018 data to validate. It's almost as if there has been a categorisation change in what's been included with bicycle sales.

The more damning data is from the Austroads National Cycling Participation Survey 2017
https://www.onlinepublications.austroads.com.au/

The reality of cycling rates in Australia this decade:

Image

and for those still riding, they are doing less of it:
Image

This just continues the decades-long trend since the early 1990s.

Data from 1986 surveys demonstrates that over the 30 years to 2017, of those that cycled regularly, the number of cycle trips by people aged 9+ has fallen by 32% while at the same time the 9+ population has increased by 57%.

IOW the rate of regular cycling by those aged 9+ is only 43% of what it was in 1986.

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

Postby P!N20 » Tue May 01, 2018 9:30 am

Scintilla wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote: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

Kew Traffic School. Still there.

https://goo.gl/maps/ToGsBwx37s32

Image


Essendon Traffic School: http://www.mvcc.vic.gov.au/experience-m ... chool.aspx

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

Postby march83 » Tue May 01, 2018 9:51 am

queequeg wrote: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.


I've been commuting around the M4 upgrades lately using back roads mainly, but a few weeks ago I decided that, since I would be travelling in the very small hours of the morning, that I would just take the Great Western Highway all the way from Penrith to Parramatta. It was surprisingly nice. No traffic passing at 100km/h, no debris all over the surface like the M4. Almost no traffic, but of course that doesn't last once the sun rises. I've been wondering since then why one of the 3 lanes couldn't be sequestered for cyclists - it would be a much nicer place to be than the M4 which might entice more people to try riding east to work from the Penrith area. It would provide cyclists with access to the towns along the way instead of being on the M4 in the middle of nowhere. A real shame that the opportunity has been missed. I expect the same on Pennant Hills Road.

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.


This is tough though - all the places I want to go to be near to good riding are invariably in the country and a long way from good infrastructure :(
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby queequeg » Tue May 01, 2018 11:04 am

march83 wrote:
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.


This is tough though - all the places I want to go to be near to good riding are invariably in the country and a long way from good infrastructure :(


I was thinking more along the lines of leaving Australia, but before I do that I have to do a lot of exploring to see if anywhere strikes the balance between stress free riding and decent infrastructure. After all, the only infrastructure I currently need as a bike rider is a good coffee machine at the cafe ;-)
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue May 01, 2018 11:15 am

march83 wrote:This is tough though - all the places I want to go to be near to good riding are invariably in the country and a long way from good infrastructure :(

What you mean by good infrastructure?

I travelled the state looking for options on where to move to as I'd had enough of the development monster known as Sydney. I will admit the number of locations that ticked all my boxes were few.

I settled on the Bellingen shire, not far from Coffs Harbour. The cycling options and environment here is superb. Road, MTB and track. Since the new Pacific Motorway was completed south of Coffs, the old highway has now opened up a road cycling paradise. And there are MTB riding options all over the place.

Coffs is a major regional centre with all the infrastructure one might need. Can be just a few km out of town, e.g. Bonville, Sawtell, and be right on some of the best cycling roads in the state. It'll only improve once the Coffs highway bypass is completed.

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

Postby Cyclophiliac » Tue May 01, 2018 11:23 am

queequeg wrote:
march83 wrote:
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.


This is tough though - all the places I want to go to be near to good riding are invariably in the country and a long way from good infrastructure :(


I was thinking more along the lines of leaving Australia, but before I do that I have to do a lot of exploring to see if anywhere strikes the balance between stress free riding and decent infrastructure. After all, the only infrastructure I currently need as a bike rider is a good coffee machine at the cafe ;-)

Si j’avais plus d’argent, j’irais au la France.

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

Postby march83 » Tue May 01, 2018 11:34 am

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Bellingen shire


This was one of the options, I have friends through the local club who have moved up there and love it. Canberra was another for the MTB venues, decent cyclepath network and government work.

If I didn't have to work I'd be somewhere around Kangaroo Valley or Bright. KV has smaller hills and less cycling culture, but close to the water and closer to the big city. Bright has the big hills, great culture but it's nowhere near the water, a long hike from Melbourne and the hills turn white and the roads get busy with skiers for a few months every year...
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby g-boaf » Tue May 01, 2018 11:51 am

queequeg wrote:
march83 wrote:
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.


This is tough though - all the places I want to go to be near to good riding are invariably in the country and a long way from good infrastructure :(


I was thinking more along the lines of leaving Australia, but before I do that I have to do a lot of exploring to see if anywhere strikes the balance between stress free riding and decent infrastructure. After all, the only infrastructure I currently need as a bike rider is a good coffee machine at the cafe ;-)



Innsbruck is beautiful for that. They have some nice infrastructure, the riding around there is superb and stress free. I spent about a week there and really loved it from the point of view of getting about, facilities and the like.

Walking about is easy too, the transport is pretty good (trams, trains, buses). I wouldn't rate the local taxi drivers that well (some of them are cranky old buggers) but the rest makes up for that one drawback. I guess winter would take some getting used to, it would be very cold there. You will also notice that it has a sort of rural feel to it, you have tractors running down the road pulling big trailers with agricultural supplies, but at the same time it has enough of big city facilities that it wouldn't feel too alien. It didn't have that stressed, rushed feeling that Sydney has. That was nice.

Some of the smaller Italian cities nearby are nice places if you are visiting and the Italians are just very nice in general, but I'm not sure what the employment opportunities would be like there. Some of my Italian friends who still have family back over there reckon the employment situation is still not great in Italy. The pay you are used to here, forget it over there.

I've not been to France yet.

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

Postby queequeg » Tue May 01, 2018 12:45 pm

march83 wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Bellingen shire


This was one of the options, I have friends through the local club who have moved up there and love it. Canberra was another for the MTB venues, decent cyclepath network and government work.

If I didn't have to work I'd be somewhere around Kangaroo Valley or Bright. KV has smaller hills and less cycling culture, but close to the water and closer to the big city. Bright has the big hills, great culture but it's nowhere near the water, a long hike from Melbourne and the hills turn white and the roads get busy with skiers for a few months every year...


I've only spent 10 days in Bright during Summer. I did love the riding there, but I would need to visit a number of times, and outside of holiday times to see what it is really like. The town could use a bit of a shake up on the hospitality front. It might be one of those places you could spend 6 months of the year at, then go somewhere else.
I've got a friend who just picked up her life and relocated to just outside Lismore, and she's loving it. She used to live in Balmain with a harbour view from her balcony looking straight at the Harbour Bridge, but Sydney was destroying her soul.
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby fat and old » Tue May 01, 2018 1:34 pm

We (wife and I) spend our time split between the lower Mornington Peninsula and Northern Melbourne. We're about to sell up in the north, and will be downsizing closer to the CBD. A whole heap of that decision is based on availability of Bike paths/network/infrastructure. This will last a few more years until the business succession is in place, then we're out of here and off to Spain (Canarias actually)...again the cycle is a big part of that. Permanent summer....Spain/Australia 50/50.

I have a cousin lives in Marseilles just been back to Aus for the first time in 30 years. His relating of cycling stories (Europe wide...he's a traveller) does not tally with those of the visitors I read about tbh. Still better than my own personal experiences afaict.

gboaf wrote: The pay you are used to here, forget it over there.


I have no idea about the white collar side of things; but there is no way in hell you are having the same standard of living if you're on the tools as you do here. Not in any of the western European countries anyway. Have no idea about the former Eastern block.

Of course you could live in the south of any of those countries and be a welfare bum, just like everyone else there :lol:

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

Postby tcdev » Tue May 01, 2018 2:20 pm

JPB wrote:I dont know if we have reached the tipping point yet but I think there is a chance that things are improving.
(snip snip)
So yes, I think things are heading in the correct direction but sadly there will always be the anti-social few that wreck things.

I pretty much agree with everything JPB has said. There's certainly more infrastructure, certainly more enthusiasts riding (mid-life crises?) and there certainly are more cycling-related products across the board available these days. And whilst the introduction of share bikes is not without its problems and vocal detractors, I think eventually they'll win out in some form or another and will ultimately result in public acceptance that bicycles are a permanent part of our cities and, perhaps more importantly, get more people riding. And while we may complain that our governments aren't doing enough to support cycling, let's not forget they did absolutely nothing 40 years ago!

There's no question that cycling has an elevated profile these days, because it's now considered "a thing" and not just another mode of transport.

Having said that, I think the elevated profile of cycling and more riders on the road have, thus far, served to polarise the general population and a real shift is still to come. That means that whilst there are those that applaud and embrace the rise of cycling, there are also those that actively rally against it, as can been seen in the comments section of any cycling-related article in the media or online, and the abundance of cyclist-hating pages on social media.

I do still hold out hope that the tide will eventually turn. And that will likely be when cycling is no longer considered "a thing". The world is a much more complex, busy and faster-moving world than we grew up in, so it's never going to return to the care-free days of half the kids in school cycling across town daily, but hopefully the funding for cycling infrastructure will one day be in proportion to that for other modes of transport, and public attitude will lean far more towards embracing cycling and further away from the redneck ute-driving tradie threatening (online at least) to mow down groups of riders with their bull-bars.
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue May 01, 2018 2:35 pm

march83 wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Bellingen shire


This was one of the options, I have friends through the local club who have moved up there and love it. Canberra was another for the MTB venues, decent cyclepath network and government work.

If I didn't have to work I'd be somewhere around Kangaroo Valley or Bright. KV has smaller hills and less cycling culture, but close to the water and closer to the big city. Bright has the big hills, great culture but it's nowhere near the water, a long hike from Melbourne and the hills turn white and the roads get busy with skiers for a few months every year...

Inland gets too cold in the winter but yes Canberra has great options. KV roads aren't that great. OK for a long weekend training camp/tour but to head out of KV the road options are not overly cycle friendly. And the nearest regional town is Nowra.

Bright is good for part of the year but a long way from larger regional centre.

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

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue May 01, 2018 2:38 pm

tcdev wrote:
JPB wrote:I dont know if we have reached the tipping point yet but I think there is a chance that things are improving.
(snip snip)
So yes, I think things are heading in the correct direction but sadly there will always be the anti-social few that wreck things.

I pretty much agree with everything JPB has said. There's certainly more infrastructure, certainly more enthusiasts riding (mid-life crises?) and there certainly are more cycling-related products across the board available these days. And whilst the introduction of share bikes is not without its problems and vocal detractors, I think eventually they'll win out in some form or another and will ultimately result in public acceptance that bicycles are a permanent part of our cities and, perhaps more importantly, get more people riding. And while we may complain that our governments aren't doing enough to support cycling, let's not forget they did absolutely nothing 40 years ago!

There's no question that cycling has an elevated profile these days, because it's now considered "a thing" and not just another mode of transport.

Having said that, I think the elevated profile of cycling and more riders on the road have, thus far, served to polarise the general population and a real shift is still to come. That means that whilst there are those that applaud and embrace the rise of cycling, there are also those that actively rally against it, as can been seen in the comments section of any cycling-related article in the media or online, and the abundance of cyclist-hating pages on social media.

I do still hold out hope that the tide will eventually turn. And that will likely be when cycling is no longer considered "a thing". The world is a much more complex, busy and faster-moving world than we grew up in, so it's never going to return to the care-free days of half the kids in school cycling across town daily, but hopefully the funding for cycling infrastructure will one day be in proportion to that for other modes of transport, and public attitude will lean far more towards embracing cycling and further away from the redneck ute-driving tradie threatening (online at least) to mow down groups of riders with their bull-bars.


The data doesn't back up the perception though. Relative to the number of people and number of vehicles, cycling has declined dramatically over the past 30 years.

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

Postby tcdev » Tue May 01, 2018 2:46 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:The data doesn't back up the perception though. Relative to the number of people and number of vehicles, cycling has declined dramatically over the past 30 years.

I perhaps wasn't clear. I didn't mean more people cycling than 30 years ago. I meant more people cycling in recent times, though perhaps it's more a case of more recreational cyclists (weekend warriors on carbon bikes), and less commuting cyclists? Or perhaps simply a case of my own increased awareness of cycling since taking it up in 2014???
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Re: Tipping point in society's attitude towards cycling and bike riding

Postby human909 » Tue May 01, 2018 5:33 pm

An interesting discussion on a few different issues. I have a few comments. Take them or leave them, just my opinion...

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:Inland gets too cold in the winter but yes Canberra has great options.

:P Not such thing as too cold, just not the right clothing! Seriously, wear appropriate clothing and you can readily cycle in all the low temps Australia can throw at you. For city riding that just means whatever your favourite jacket is. For sporting riding that just means layers, thermals and light wind-stopper. Gloves and balaclava if you feel the cold.

fat and old wrote:I have no idea about the white collar side of things; but there is no way in hell you are having the same standard of living if you're on the tools as you do here.

Australia has the highest minimum wage in the world. That combined with a generation of parents directing their kids away from jobs on the tools, as well as the lack of immigrant participation in construction jobs means great wages for those willing to get their hands dirty.

Bottom end white collar work here gets paid better than overseas due to minimum wage. But educated professional level white collar work comparable or even less.

tcdev wrote:I perhaps wasn't clear. I didn't mean more people cycling than 30 years ago. I meant more people cycling in recent times, though perhaps it's more a case of more recreational cyclists (weekend warriors on carbon bikes), and less commuting cyclists? Or perhaps simply a case of my own increased awareness of cycling since taking it up in 2014???

Hard to say.... Most of that statistics I've seen show slight upwards noise in recent years but to call it a tipping point is still early.

That said, as I commonly proclaim, in some very localized areas of our country we are well past the tipping point. Where I live bikes are a normal form of transport. School bike racks are massive and full. Street bike racks are full and shopping centre racks are big and full.

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