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Will the Civic Cycle Loop reverse Canberra’s declining rate of cycling? [With poll]

By Leon Arundell - 22 August 2012 37

At the turn of the millennium Canberra had no on-road cycle lanes, 19% of Canberrans cycled more than once a month. Most of them were children. We had Australia’s highest rate of child cycling.

By 2009 we had 5,000 less child cyclists, and the proportion of Canberrans who cycled more than once a month had fallen to 18%. Our rate of cycling among children under ten is now lower than in any State except NSW.

What child cyclists need most is a safe route from home to school. It is doubtful that the Civic Cycle Loop will provide any new connections between homes and schools.

Economic analysis has identified sixty projects that are more cost-effective than the Civic Cycle Loop. None of them will happen before 2017 if we fund the entire $6 million Civic Cycle Loop from our four year $5.5 million walking and cycling infrastructure budget.

If we postpone the $2 million Bunda St and Allara St sections of the Civic Cycle Loop, we can fund the following projects:

    Inner South: Widen footpath on Wentworth Avenue; off road path from Deakin Offices to Adelaide Avenue.

    North Canberra: Off road paths along University avenue and Menindee Drive, and from the Lake to the War Memorial.

    Belconnen: Giralang Link off road path.

    Woden: Fisher off-road path; Mawson Shops off-road bypass; Athllon Drive off-road path missing link; Easty Street off road link; Aikman Drive on-road cycle lanes extension.

    Gungahlin: The Valley Avenue to Gundaroo Drive on road lanes

Should we use $2 million of Walking and Cycling Infrastructure to:

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37 Responses to
Will the Civic Cycle Loop reverse Canberra’s declining rate of cycling? [With poll]
BicycleCanberra 1:23 pm 22 Aug 12

In Fact the ACT still leads the nation with the amount of Children cycling to school, even though it changes from year to year, and yes the overall the number of children cycling has declined. But that has happened across Australia,the US and UK.(interestingly most English speaking countries dominated by car culture)

http://www.abs.gov.au/websitedbs/CaSHome.nsf/Home/2012+CensusAtSchool+Summary+Data#T8

Only places like the Netherlands,Denmark ,Germany, China where the rates are still high for children cycling, but then most of those countries have made a concerted effort to improve cycling infrastructure not just for the strong and fearless but for everyone! http://youtu.be/XuBdf9jYj7o

I don’t think we should be quibbling over which project gets what funding, we know that the ACT Government needs invest more in both Pedestrian and Cycling facilities. $ 100 million over four years would be a good start to finish most projects and start new ones. Many changes can be almost cost free like reducing residential speed limits to 30km/h and cul-de-sacs to shared zone speeds, negating the need for installing footpaths.

puggy 12:52 pm 22 Aug 12

bitzermaloney said :

The civic cycle loop is a huge white elephant.

How many cyclists are going to use it (and stop at all the lights, get off and walk, and get back on) or keep riding up the middle of City Walk?

I’ll be keen to use it to get around Civic of a lunch time. Also, I assume that because it will be a dedicated cycle way, they’ll have the little bicycle crossing lights at intersections. That means I don’t have to get off the bike and walk it.

davo101 12:49 pm 22 Aug 12

niftydog said :

Oh, right, the ol’ Giralang Link. Yup, people have been harping on about building that for years!

It’s pretty hard to support something without knowing any of the details, Leon.

Here’s the ACT Government’s list of things to do. I’m not sure if this is the “economic analysis” referred to in the OP as this report has the Civic loop as the number one priority.

All I can find in Giralang is a short bit of path that goes across the pond and joins up with the path next to William Slim Drive.

bitzermaloney 12:27 pm 22 Aug 12

The civic cycle loop is a huge white elephant.

How many cyclists are going to use it (and stop at all the lights, get off and walk, and get back on) or keep riding up the middle of City Walk?

Intel70 12:24 pm 22 Aug 12

Re talks regarding school traffic… Watch this video… then picture the traffic chaos that would ensue, and extra motoring infrastructure required… if everyone of these children was driven to school in a 1 – 3 tonne machine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrQ-d2PBUto

And before anyone goes raving… “but the population density in the Netherlands is much higher than Australia, of course than can afford better cycle infrastructure…” The population density of Canberra is higher than the Netherlands as a whole. Population density argument is pretty much invalid when talking about building decent cycling infrastructure within Australian urban areas…

We’re not asking for a cycle path from Canberra to Perth.

Jim Jones 11:51 am 22 Aug 12

Big difference is that when everyone ‘used to ride to school when I was a kid’, there were substantially less cars on the road and driving culture was different (i.e. people did turn into self-absorbed c0cks – trying to go as fast as they possibly could and becoming incandescent with rage as soon as anyone slowed them down – as soon as they stepped into their cars).

niftydog 11:50 am 22 Aug 12

davo101 said :

So how exactly do any of the proposed alternative help? Seriously you want kids to ride in on road cycle lanes?

Most of the proposals are for off-road paths.

davo101, you pointed out some glaring (deliberate?!) omissions in the Pedal Power thread a couple of days ago. Now I’m looking at these proposals and wondering what the hell they actually are.

Oh, right, the ol’ Giralang Link. Yup, people have been harping on about building that for years!

It’s pretty hard to support something without knowing any of the details, Leon.

dtc 11:45 am 22 Aug 12

People who complain about kids not riding to school and being mollycoddled and how in their day everyone rode to school and it was all fine and dandy should have a look at children mortality rates from motor vehicle accidents involving child pedestrians or cyclists – its has dropped by more than 50% in the last 20 years and I imagine a lot more over the last 30-40 years (and this despite a huge increase in the number of vehicles on the road).

That said, kids should be able to ride to at least their local primary school without having to cross any major roads (unless there are lights). You can do this in some schools, but not that many.

I should add that as a regular rider on the very busy Dickson-Civic bike path, if the mostly middle aged men didnt think they had to provide themselves by riding at top speed and weaving in and out of the kids also riding on the path (at much slower speed), that might help encourage kids to ride. Slow down and take a wide route around the kid. Once you get past Lyneham Primary or Turner Primary, there wont be any more kids and you can speed to your heart’s content.

JTC 11:41 am 22 Aug 12

The Civic Cycle Loop and suburban footpaths are two completely separate issues. One will encourage more cycle communting into and around Civic, primarily by adults who work and shop in town. The other is about kiddies riding to school. They can’t be compared.

Many things have changed that mean children walk and ride to school less than they could. A major factor is the parents – they like to drive their kids to school and / or they don’t want their kids outside unattended.

I think the Civic Cycle Loop is a great initiative to get people riding who would otherwise be uncomfortable competing for space on roads.

I also think we need to get kids riding and walking to school – a mix of programs, education and infrastructure might do that, and I sugggest programs and education are more likely to get results than simply infrastructure.

poetix 11:33 am 22 Aug 12

Grail said :

I rode to school routinely during my youf. I don’t see why kids these days can’t ride the way I used to. The difference is the amount of cotton-wool-wrapping that parents feel they need to do. They are coddling their children by chauffeuring them in SUVs, even when there is the perfectly functional alternative of catching the bus or riding a bike. Safer riding facilities will not help: the issue is paranoid parents perceiving pedophiles in every periphery.

I agree that coddling children is setting them up with some very bad habits, but making the ride to school “safer” is not really going to help.

It’s not all paranoia:
http://the-riotact.com/nsw-police-looking-for-queanbeyan-scumbag/79996

My child may catch the dedicated school bus when she’s a little older, but there’s no way I’d let her catch one that, for example, terminated in Civic and meant she needed to catch another one. She wouldn’t get home for hours and I would just be sitting around too worried to do anything.

We used to walk to school together, but now she goes elsewhere this is no longer possible. It is just too far to cycle (and involves major roads) and I actually like picking her up. I worry about using a car every day, but I can’t see that stopping for a little while.

I have only ever seen one child on a bike at her new school, although some children do walk to school.

To get back to the OP, I think the loop looks like a good idea, as I don’t like being on the comparatively busy footpaths in Civic or on the road, after the bike path finishes. I would be more likely to use my bike to go to Civic with this option.

davo101 11:30 am 22 Aug 12

What child cyclists need most is a safe route from home to school.

So how exactly do any of the proposed alternative help? Seriously you want kids to ride in on road cycle lanes?

It is doubtful that the Civic Cycle Loop will provide any new connections between homes and schools

No, but it will fill in the missing bits on some pretty major routes between home and work.

Economic analysis has identified

[[citation needed]]

Henry82 10:56 am 22 Aug 12
Grail 10:47 am 22 Aug 12

johnboy said :

We have moved away from neighbourhood schools in recent years as well.

I rode from Higgins to Florey (about 3km) for primary and high school, Kambah to Pearce for college. I am not sure how much further I would have to ride to convince you that it is still achievable, even for the cotton-wool-wrapped lard buckets that pass for children in this modern age.

Apart from Higgins Primary, all the schools that I attended are still running. All the suburbs are still where they were decades ago. Some footpaths are in need of repair, but even in my school days we had paths broken by trucks, washed over with dirt and gravel, or inaccessible due to home renovators using public space for storing their materials.

It is not the paths and schools that have change so much as the valet service that parents have started offering their spawn. There are many more parents dropping their kids off at school these days than I remember seeing as a child, and far fewer of those parents are driving collections of children to school.

Convince me that people are not driving their kids to school due to sheer laziness and lack of domestic organization.

Better quality paths will help those people who are already riding. Getting the kids on foot, bike or bus is the step that needs to be made, and this means convincing parents that it is safe to let their sprogs out of their sight for the trip to school and back home again. The children need to learn to act independently at some stage: they cannot expect “someone” to cater to their every need once they leave home.

johnboy 10:32 am 22 Aug 12

We have moved away from neighbourhood schools in recent years as well.

Grail 10:28 am 22 Aug 12

I rode to school routinely during my youf. I don’t see why kids these days can’t ride the way I used to. The difference is the amount of cotton-wool-wrapping that parents feel they need to do. They are coddling their children by chauffeuring them in SUVs, even when there is the perfectly functional alternative of catching the bus or riding a bike. Safer riding facilities will not help: the issue is paranoid parents perceiving pedophiles in every periphery.

I agree that coddling children is setting them up with some very bad habits, but making the ride to school “safer” is not really going to help.

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