30 May 2021

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

| Michael Weaver
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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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Molly Stanley9:13 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.

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.

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 Thurbon7:47 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.

Capital Retro8:12 am 04 Jun 21

Who will pay for this?

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 quirk7:24 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

“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 quirk10:43 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

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.

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.

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

So many excuses, so few reasons.

Leon Arundell10:02 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.

Capital Retro11:21 am 01 Jun 21

Thank God I am no longer a commuter.

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