In the wake of the contorted Senate elections in Western Australia it might be worthwhile to think of establishing a micro party that promotes cycling. Hold on, somebody is already thinking of that in the Eastern States. You can find the Australian Cyclists Party on Facebook, and you can register with them on their website. You might even want to get one of their T-shirts.
To normalise cycling in Perth, we might want to look what the Japanese are doing. The Guardian suggest we could learn from their approach to cycling. In Japan the distinction between a urban bimbler on a granny bike and “proper cyclist” doesn’t exist to the same extent it does here. In Japan, most treat their bicycle as an extension of their legs, a sensible and logical way of getting from A to B. Bicycles are largely used for local journeys: for getting to the shops, or to school, or to work.
Not sure if the number of people riding slowly to shops is increasing in Perth, but the cyclists on the Principal Shared Paths (PSP) have increased 11% year-to-date. This contrasts with a slight decline in overall cycling participation in WA, according to a phone survey conducted by the Australian Bicycle Council. A large scale examination of cycling investment in the UK proves that an investment of $26 per head of population will result in a quantifiable increase in the amount of cycling. The same investment per head in WA would be $44mio per year… more than we are getting during the whole term of the current government! Perhaps we should be less concerned about the perceived confidentiality of where our meager cycling budget is spent, and more focused on getting good value when we build cycling infrastructure.
My favourite producer of cycling advocacy footage has compiled images and interviews from Groeningen in the Netherlands to show how good a city can operate if people are put first, instead of cars. The video is introduced on our website. But it is not just infrastructure that makes a city safe for people, and people on bicycles. The attitudes of motorists, and the legal framework are important as well. An article in Bicycling examines in detail how a fatal cycling accident is dealt with in Holland and in the USA. The differences are huge….