31 January 2020

Fire threat and smoke haze force cancellation of Canberra Big Bike Ride

| Ian Bushnell
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The Big Canberra Bike Ride is the biggest participation ride in Canberra. Photo: Facebook.

The ACT’s largest mass cycling event has been cancelled due to the ongoing bushfire crisis and the health risks from the continuing smoke haze.

The annual event’s organiser Pedal Power ACT said the Big Canberra Bike Ride, which was due to take place on 1 March, will now not go ahead.

Pedal Power ACT CEO Ian Ross said the unprecedented decision to cancel the event was not taken lightly.

“Unprecedented bushfires, ongoing smoke haze, toxic air quality and now the threat from new fires burning in Namadgi National Park have made a riding event untenable,” Mr Ross said.

“There is consistent advice that the health risks from ongoing fires are unlikely to abate anytime soon.”

Mr Ross said the bushfire crisis and recent severe weather events in the ACT were the direct result of human-caused climate change, and it was tragic that an event designed to encourage more people to get on a bike, and therefore reduce the emissions that cause climate change, has had to be cancelled.

“The horror story of climate change that is unfolding this summer serves to remind us that we need to take urgent action to start to reverse our levels of emissions,” he said.

Mr Ross said transport was now the single largest contributor of damaging climate emissions in the ACT, and Pedal Power would continue to work with the ACT Government to improve cycling infrastructure and provide incentives for Canberrans to increase their use of active travel.

“The ACT Government has demonstrated leadership in developing a Climate Change Strategy that it will use as a guide to help our community to transition to a low carbon city by prioritising active travel,” Mr Ross said.

“If ever there was a time to prioritise cycling infrastructure and reform our travel habits it is now.”

Pedal Power will be contacting people who have already registered to take part in the event to organise a refund of their fees.

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