Project asks us to move to bikes, electric bikes and e-scooters for daily commute

Michael Weaver 30 May 2021 107
Woman and man riding bicycles in line of traffic in Canberra

Commuters are being encouraged to ride bikes, e-bikes or e-scooters to work during the Make the Move campaign. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Would you be willing to ditch the daily commute in your car to take an active form of travel such as a bike, electric bike or e-scooter?

That is the question Canberra commuters are being asked as part of an initiative to make the move to zero-emission forms of transport.

The Make the Move initiative is a six-week program for workplaces to receive a tailored workshop and to trial the use of electric bikes and e-scooters which enable employees to replace their car commutes with active travel.

Four workplaces have already signed on to the program, including inner-city men’s barbershop Truefitt & Hill, digital design agency Annex, advocacy organisation Early Childhood Australia, and Canberra’s water and sewerage supplier Icon Water.

E-bikes and e-scooters have been provided by Switched On Cycles, and the project is supported by the ACT Government’s Community Zero Emissions Grants Program with $39,572 in funding.

ACT Minister for Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said the program, delivered by the Conservation Council ACT Region and the Canberra Environment Centre, will help the community make real change to reduce emissions.

“Now that the ACT has shifted to 100 per cent renewable electricity, transport emissions are by far the ACT’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, at more than 60 per cent,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“That’s why we have a strong focus on shifting to zero-emissions transport, including active travel and zero-emissions vehicles.

“Expert advice will also be provided to businesses about how they can further support their employees’ sustainable transport choices. This includes advice on areas such as vehicle charging, storage and improved end-of-trip facilities.”

Samantha Ward, Gregory Mowle, Ryan Lungu, Helen Oakey and Shane Rattenbury standing with pushbike

From left: Samantha Ward and Gregory Mowle from Early Childhood Australia; Ryan Lungu from Canberra Environment Centre; Conservation Council ACT Region executive director Helen Oakey; and ACT Minister for Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury. Photo: Supplied.

Executive director of the Conservation Council ACT Region Helen Oakey said the initiative encourages businesses and commuters to overcome the barriers of changing their daily travel habits by encouraging sustainable modes of travel.

“By switching regular work commuting out of cars and into a range of different transport options, we’re keen to help two-car families realise the cost savings and health benefits of running just a single family car,” she said.

“With around a quarter of all travel undertaken getting to and from work, employers have the opportunity to make a significant contribution towards changing Canberrans’ travel habits while reducing their organisation’s carbon emissions and reaping the benefits of a healthier and more active workforce.”

Ms Oakey said the Make the Move website also answers questions many people will have about how to plan their daily commute, as well as dealing with Canberra’s cold days and how to manage urgent appointments or picking up children.

“Canberrans travel around the city daily for employment, social, recreational and household activities, clocking up a staggering 11 million kilometres a day,” she said.

“Of that, more than nine million kilometres are in private vehicles mostly carrying just one person. All that driving has significant impacts on our health, our climate and the city’s amenity.”


READ ALSO: Is Canberra really the most sustainable city in the world?


Regional manager of Truefitt & Hill John Murphy said his staff are enthusiastic about developing more sustainable transport habits that also improve their physical and mental health.

“Truefitt & Hill is committed to continuously trying to be a better and greener corporate citizen, and participating in the Make the Move project is another step in that direction,” he said.

Canberra Environment Centre executive director Ryan Lungu said the program allows commuters to try before they buy to see what works best, while principal consultant at Annex, Tim Berman, said his team is already very conscious of finding more energy efficient methods of travel without making the usual excuses.

“One of the barriers to having a greater uptake of our staff using bikes to get to work is the distance that some staff would have to cycle, as well as the distance to local bus stops if staff wanted to catch a bus,” said Early Childhood Australia finance and operations general manager Gregory Mowle.

“Having the ability to trial e-bikes and e-scooters will help eliminate these barriers.”

Icon Water health and wellness coordinator Michael Nolan said the program aligned with the organisation’s wellbeing and environmental strategies.

“The Make the Move program aligns with the Icon Water Live Well Framework, supporting healthier bodies, healthier minds and healthier place, as well as the ACT Government’s target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2045.”

More information on the Make the Move project is available on the Conservation Council ACT Region website.


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107 Responses to Project asks us to move to bikes, electric bikes and e-scooters for daily commute
Kate Brennand Kate Brennand 9:43 pm 08 Jun 21

I’m one of those people. I’m too ill to catch public transport, bike or scoot. Temperature and sunlight tigger my chronic illness. I’d love to use these transport options but sadly I can’t.

Molly Stanley Molly Stanley 9:13 am 07 Jun 21

Create a safe and direct bike route along Hindmarsh Drive between Narrabundah/Fyshwick and Woden and I’d be all in! I’d love to do more active travel on my e-scooter, the trouble is that for my commute the infrastructure isn’t quite there yet. My options are to either ride on an 80km/h road where the bike lanes are inadequate, or to triple my commute distance by going all the way around Red Hill.

    Maya123 Maya123 1:52 pm 07 Jun 21

    The cycling routes for people on bikes from Fyshwick/Narrabundah to Woden are VERY lacking. This had been mentioned to the authorities for years, but they continue to ignore this. If you mean you need to go via the Red Hill road that goes to the golf course, there is another closer route, off Mugga Way, near Francis Street, that goes over the Red Hill saddle. Unfortunately it’s unsealed. It’s a single vehicle lane width, with cuttings. This has been mentioned to the authorities too. This way would be far better for people on non-electric bikes, as it can get very hot in summer puffing up Hindmarsh Drive, with the heat reflected off those embankments. And many people would be off walking some of this too.
    If Hindmarsh Drive were used (not likely to attract many everyday riders that don’t have electric bikes, because of the pre-mentioned problem), the middle medium strip could be utilised. This has been mentioned to the authorities too, but rejected with the excuse that it’s hard for people on bikes to then leave. Doesn’t matter that there is nowhere they are likely to want to get off that, except at well defined lights, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Maybe make both routes. A path up the medium strip of Hindmarsh Drive (the top section where the concrete divides are would have to be worked out), and seal the path over the Red Hill saddle, with a small bridge over the not always dry creek.

rsm1105 rsm1105 7:34 am 06 Jun 21

If my work lets me work a 6 hour day so i can etransport kids to and from school, childcare and after school activities, I’m all in.

Elizabeth Ann Thurbon Elizabeth Ann Thurbon 7:47 am 04 Jun 21

For this to work and be accepted we will need more dedicated bike/scooter lanes. People hate bikes and scooters on footpaths and bike/scooter riders find riding in the traffic frightening.

Tony Tony Tony Tony 6:25 pm 03 Jun 21

Waste of tax payers $$,Get these mongrels off public roads,,they don't pay rego or insurance,,

    Johnny Grey Johnny Grey 1:56 am 06 Jun 21

    Tony Tony Dear Tony Tony & Tony, bike riders do pay taxes, and also remember that the roads are Public.

    Nowadays, Age Pensioners don't pay rego, so should they get off the roads when you want to drive?

    Tony Tony Tony Tony 6:29 am 06 Jun 21

    What tax do bike riders pay???,

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:36 am 06 Jun 21

    Tony Tony Likely similar to you. That is, if you pay tax.

    Josh Parmenter Josh Parmenter 8:57 pm 08 Jun 21

    Tony Tony rates and taxes. That's what really pays for roads. Bike riders pay rates, income tax and GST just like anyone else.

    If registration paid for roads it would be many times higher. As it is, even if all your registration was spent on roads - which it isn't - it wouldn't even cover the damage you do to the road with your motor vehicle.

    There's a reason why governments want to get people out of their cars. They're massively subsidised by the community.

Alex Evans Roberts Alex Evans Roberts 1:30 pm 03 Jun 21

Love my ebike except for when it is cold, I need better gloves 😄. Only bought it because they raised parking to $15 in the city and I hate traffic and paying for parking. I was pleasantly surprised to see it has improved my fitness and my mental health. I'm lucky enough to have a good bike path all the way in, can see though for others living further out this isn't practical.

    Michael Roy Michael Roy 10:15 pm 05 Jun 21

    Alex Evans Roberts ski gloves will see you through the coldest of mornings

DreamBelief DreamBelief 8:41 am 03 Jun 21

Why is everyone acting like the only reason for this is reducing congestion? Have you never interacted with our health system? It’s woefully under strain. More people cycling, even with power assist, would make a significant difference to costs, crowding and wait lists given the reality is a poor lifestyle is one of the primary drivers of the strain.
It also has the side benefit of assisting us to reach goals regarding emissions (although if you’re selfish and only really care about your own immediate future then just focus on the benefits for the health system.

michael quirk michael quirk 7:24 am 03 Jun 21

Stop the madness of the light rail extension and use the funds on needed projects including improved cycling infrastructure and incentives to encourage employment outside Canberra Central

    DreamBelief DreamBelief 8:31 am 03 Jun 21

    “Madness” – tell that to the many people already benefiting from light rail (using cars less, having shorter commutes and more accessible commutes), and the others who are keen on using it when it extends to our areas. If you’re not in an area or situation where it’s needed then be grateful, but not everyone is the same as you. Public transport is crucial. Yes, we should improve cycle paths too, but not as an alternative. We need both.

    michael quirk michael quirk 10:43 am 03 Jun 21

    Yes public transport is essential but the government has continually failed to demonstrate the tram is a better use of funds than bus rapid transport or increasing the coverage and frequency of the bus network

Adrian Hobbs Adrian Hobbs 11:58 pm 02 Jun 21

I regularly ride. A mix of pedestrians and cyclists Is bad enough on our generally poor cycling infrastructure.. Add e-bikes, e-scooters, e-tandems, etc and it will be really frustrating for all concerned. Each accelerates, brakes, manoeuvres, stops differently. The bike paths and bike lanes would need major upgrades, including separation of slow from fast. Bike paths and shared paths are badly degraded - I just don't see this happening any time soon.

    Mick Smith Mick Smith 2:13 pm 05 Jun 21

    Adrian Hobbs Poor cycling infrastructure, this government has spent more than $35 mn on upgrading cycle paths, and you cyclists havet paid a cent for it, unlike road users, you have been stting on your pointy seat for too long.

    Josh Parmenter Josh Parmenter 9:01 pm 08 Jun 21

    Mick Smith I get really sick of this argument so let me take it very plain for you.

    Motorists don't pay for roads. You can whine about rego and fuel excise as much as you like but it won't change the fact that none of that is spent on roads and that even if it was it wouldn't cover the damage done to roads by motor vehicles.

    $35M may sound like a lot to you but it's not even a pittance compared to the roads budget.

Glen Fluit Glen Fluit 9:46 pm 02 Jun 21

How about a subsidy for electric bikes instead of free rego for electric cars

Sokhemara Ngo Sokhemara Ngo 8:21 pm 02 Jun 21

Riding a bike is not carbon neutral. You eat food to power the bike. That food was grown, harvested and delivered using fossil fuels.

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 9:16 pm 02 Jun 21

    Long walk from the vegetable garden I know. And you mean car driver's don't eat. Wow😱!

kenm kenm 4:11 pm 02 Jun 21

Nah, I’m gonna go buy an 11L diesel to make my daily commute in, by myself, because I hate this virtue signalling so very much.

    bryansworld bryansworld 5:00 am 03 Jun 21

    I’ll think about your comment as I ride in to work this morning, as I have for decades. Amazingly efficient and economical, this ‘virtue signalling’ of yours, even more than Rudolf Diesel’s invention. This woke technology could change the world.

    kenm kenm 12:53 pm 03 Jun 21

    You do that. I’ll sit on my heated seats, in my climate controlled vehicle, warm and dry, until I arrive at my employer provided parking spot under my building. LOL

Brisal Brisal 10:28 am 02 Jun 21

So many excuses, so few reasons.

Jennifer Zagar Jennifer Zagar 10:21 am 02 Jun 21

It's a global movement to reduce emissions Many countries now ban petrol powered vehicles in their cities Its a great idea !

Leon Arundell Leon Arundell 10:02 am 02 Jun 21

(1) Travelling by car with a friend causes less emissions per person than the average bus trip: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/new-data-shows-high-emissions-from-canberra-buses-leon-arundell/
(2) About two in five of all Canberrans’ trips are made in cars that carry two or more people.
(3) Walking and cycling cause significant greenhouse emissions: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-66170-y
(4) The ACT Government’s target is to continue until 2045 to increase the ACT’s net emissions. By 2045 the average Canberran will have caused 100 tonnes of local emissions, plus 200 tonnes of interstate emissions from electricity generation, plus about 500 tonnes of other interstate emissions from producing food, building materials and other products that are used within the ACT.

Angela Hunter Angela Hunter 9:05 am 02 Jun 21

It might be handy if you live in Braddon...and work in Braddon...

It's not really practical if you live in Tuggeranong, have a couple of kids to drop at school and you work in Braddon 🤷‍♀️

    Sonia Foster Sonia Foster 7:42 pm 02 Jun 21

    Angela Hunter that’s right. Totally different if you are close to what you need

    Michael Roy Michael Roy 7:59 pm 02 Jun 21

    Angela Hunter it can work. Also more cycling infrastructure will make it safer for kids to ride and walk on their own, so as they grow older will have independence and not be dependent on parents driving them places

Alicia Conley Alicia Conley 7:11 am 02 Jun 21

Is this because the government has given up on public transportation?

Shannen McCann-Geiger Shannen McCann-Geiger 3:44 am 02 Jun 21

All these tradies giving up their utes to ride from job site to job site on their bikes with back packs full of tools.

Should work.

    Jason Hutcheon Jason Hutcheon 6:15 am 02 Jun 21

    Shannen McCann-Geiger It will work if they buy a Ford F150 Lightning

    Michael Roy Michael Roy 7:57 pm 02 Jun 21

    Shannen McCann-Geiger some could but one key thing is by getting those who can to ride and use public transport it frees up the roads for those who have to drive

Mark Mccaffrey Mark Mccaffrey 12:11 am 02 Jun 21

Just a cheeky 3 hour commute from tuggers to Braddon each way, no biggie

    Michael Roy Michael Roy 7:56 pm 02 Jun 21

    Mark Mccaffrey 20-28km can be as little as 60mins or 1hour and 15mins on an ebike speed limited to 25km/hr.

    Mark Mccaffrey Mark Mccaffrey 9:39 pm 02 Jun 21

    Follow your own advice and see how quickly you burn out riding a bike for 3 hours a day...

    Shay Daisy Shay Daisy 11:09 am 03 Jun 21

    Mark mccaffrey I used to (precovid) commute 3 days a week on bike from a Belconnen suburb to Tuggeranong. On a normal no electric bike. It used to take me an hour each way compared to half hour drive time. I didn’t feel the need to go to the gym those days so it worked out time neutral. I never managed to ride all 5 days a week but I quickly got fitter and healthier. I’m certainly no athlete (middle age, slightly overweight) so if I can do it on no electric bike others can with an ebike without drama.

    Michael Roy Michael Roy 10:14 pm 05 Jun 21

    Mark Mccaffrey when I lived in banks I worked in belconnen I commuted by bike 9/10 days took an hour to an hour twenty each way.

    Mark Mccaffrey Mark Mccaffrey 12:55 am 06 Jun 21

    I don’t live in Belconnen? I live in tuggers? I work 12-14 hour shifts in restaurants. You think riding a BIKE at midnight for a hour and a half is sustainable?5 days a week?

    Have you ever driven the said road? It’s a 100 each way with no bike lanes. Zero street lights for about a 5km stretch.

    I appreciate the enthusiasm, but riding a bike from Braddon to tuggers after 11pm is a death sentence.....

    Please stop trying to convince yourself your right.

    Shay thanks for the input, I guess it was kinda related....

Anthony Sarri Anthony Sarri 11:06 pm 01 Jun 21

Um I don't think so. I am already sick of having to look out for Public Servants on Scooters in their Kathmandu jackets. Get them.off the roads please. Or build scooter friendly lanes and charge a Registration fee to be on the public Roads.

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