This blog seeks to promote cycling as transport, especially in Australia.
The blog is founded on three convictions.
1. That too grow urban utility cycling, we heed to ride upright like most Europeans do, but in a posture which is still rare here.
The upright position goes together with wearing normal clothes when using a bike for transport, with carrying things in baskets and on luggage racks, with seeing better and being seen better. It also goes with countering one of cycling greatest enemies, the perception that it’s dangerous.
2. That Australia is tragically far behind using bikes as transport. To attain catch-up, to fast track progress, we need to bring in large scale Bike share schemes, such as those which have transformed urban cycling in Paris and Montreal, the Velibs in one and the Bixis in the other. Bike Share is now in 60 cities around the world, with more starting almost daily. We have yet to get our first.
These schemes overnight place thousands of modest-fee-rental-bikes on city streets for public use. Not only do they provide no fuss A to B transport, they also alert motorists to a biking new reality, calm traffic, and generally make cities more enjoyable and more prosperous. Bike Share goes hand in hand with my first conviction since they are all of the sit-up type of bike.
3. The third conviction is that true cycle safety lies under the wheels not on the head. Any society which is serious about bikes as transport, must spend the money needed to create networks of safe cycle-ways, both on and off roads. All the successful bike cities, and there are now hundreds, have done this to varying degrees.
Here, helmet laws and helmet promotion has become an alternative for our Govts to doing little else for cyclists. So much so that now we have the bizarre situation the the safest cities in which to cycle, globally, have the least helmet use. We got it wrong, being penny pinchers, and now we have to change
Most urgently, our compulsory helmet laws impede the coming of Bike Share schemes because it’s impossible to dispense a guaranteed helmet on the street along with a bike. Thus usage of bike share will be restricted to those who carry helmets with them and those prepared to buy a new helmet for each ride.
There is thus an urgent need, if bike share it to more than a curiosity, to at least partially repeal our helmet laws so that helmets are a matter of choice for those riding the slower sit up bikes which bike share provides, and indeed for any bike of this type.
All of this means a huge shift from the rather aggressive cycle culture we now have, one that thrives on speed and sport. The changes proposed would leave this culture in place, merely add to it what’s necessary to get Australians using bikes as transport.
Situp-cycle.com makes two predictions. Since our hills and distances are often formidable, Electric bikes are going to pay a key role in promoting urban and utility cycling in Australia.
Secondly, none of the above can happen until the Federal Govt. takes bikes as transport seriously, and plays a leadership role. This will begin with collecting good data on cycling. Cycle stats in this country are presently woeful, which is not surprising. One counts what one thinks is valuable .
Lastly, a country which can’t or wont use bikes as transport for short utility trips, is not serious about global warming. Mike Rubbo