4 February 2017

Leaders around the world trumpet the benefits of bike riding

| Anne Treasure
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Andrew Barr

Since his re-election last year, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has pledged $30 million to fixing Canberra’s bike infrastructure, and made a New Year’s resolution to ride more.

His government’s financial commitments have made it clear that bike-riding is important to the ACT, and Barr is putting his bike where his money is – posting photos and videos to social media of himself riding around Canberra.

But words can be as important as actions, particularly when your words set the agenda for a government and a city – and the Chief Minister has yet to make a strong statement regarding a vision for bike-riding in the ACT.

Leaders around the world have made a point of declaring their commitment to promote bike-riding in their cities. Many have pointed to the range of benefits active travel brings to a city, including a healthier population and friendlier streets.

In Sydney and Melbourne, both Mayor Clover Moore and Mayor Robert Doyle have stated strong support for bike-riding. In a recent article Moore championed the benefits bike riding brings for business, and indicated that active travel was the solution to Sydney’s traffic problem.

“When I was first elected lord mayor of Sydney, it was the financial services sector and big end of town that lobbied me to build a network of safe separated cycleways.”

Doyle said that he wants Melbourne to be a world leader for cycling.

“The City of Melbourne is committed to making the most liveable city in the world one of the great cycling cities of the world,” said Doyle.

While Boris Johnson might be better-known for his gaffes than his commitment to active transport, it cannot be denied that the former Mayor of London played a large role in making London a world-leader in city bike-riding.

“Cycling in London has never been more popular: the number of bike journeys has risen by two-thirds since I became mayor,” said Johnson.

“Above all, cycling in London has never been more normal.”

“Within a few years, at the current rate of growth, people commuting by bike to central London will outnumber those commuting by car. Cities compete these days on quality of life. London can’t afford to stand still in that – our rivals won’t.”

The former London Mayor Boris Johnson and the current Mayor Sadiq Khan have stated that they want London to be recognised as “a byword for cycling around the world.”

Both Khan and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg increased their city’s expenditure on cycling infrastructure and promotion, with the aim of having their cities recognised as leaders in active transport around the world.

Under the leadership of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago was named America’s top city for cycling in 2016.

Emanuel recognised not only the health benefits that cycling brings to a city, but also the economic benefits when he stated his aims in 2012 “I expect not only to take all of their [Seattle and Portland’s] bikers but I also want all the jobs that come with this, all the economic growth that comes with this, all the opportunities of the future that come with this.”

These leaders all recognise the benefits that bike-riding brings to a city, and what’s more, they made a point of broadcasting their goal to bring these benefits to their cities.

Here’s hoping that the ACT Chief Minister takes inspiration from the leaders of great cities around the world and makes it clear that Canberra wants to lead the way for bike-riding in Australia – for the benefit of all Canberrans.

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Leon Arundell12:16 pm 09 Feb 17

Is Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris prepared to spend enough money to achieve her vision of Canberra becoming Australia’s walking and cycling capital?
The Government spends only $500 per year on each of Canberra’s 12,000 child and 8,000 adult walking commuters. Half of them have better access to roads than they have to footpaths. It would cost about $10,000 per walking commuter to put a footpath along every street. More footpaths would also assist the 27,000 commuters who walk to and from bus stops, and the 2,700 children who bike to school.
$30 million for bike infrastructure works out at $4,000 for each of Canberra’s 7,500 bike commuters.
That’s similar to the Government’s _annual_ $3,500 subsidy to each public transport commuter. Stage 1 of light rail will increase the annual subsidy to $6,000 per commuter, and will add a one-off cost of $25,000 per commuter.

Anne Treasure1:35 pm 05 Feb 17

John Moulis said :

I don’t think Donald Trump would be into cycling. Of course we know the type of bike he’d be more interested in…

You would think that, but history indicates otherwise http://thebiglead.com/2016/10/02/remember-donald-trumps-bike-race-the-tour-de-trump/ (!!)

I don’t think Donald Trump would be into cycling. Of course we know the type of bike he’d be more interested in…

Boris Johnson certainly did his bit for making cycling popular in London.

He has unfortunately become a victim of his own success in politics and he has put the bike on blocks.


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