Saturday, August 15, 2009

Uphill for Bike Commuters


Pic courtesy from cycling.com

With the economic crunch, desire to stay healthy, being sick of traffic jams and perhaps a noble desire to contribute to the green cause, bicycle sales in Australia have taken off in a huge way. Just in NSW, over 430,000 new bikes were bought compared to 75,000 motor vehicle registrations. This is indeed a cause for celebration as more people realise the benefits of being on pedal power but it does create a growing problem.

With more bicycles on the roads, this has caused many motorists to become increasingly frustrated as they are forced to share their "domain" with these slow moving wheels. In some ways, it could be a time bomb waiting to go off if nothing is done about it.

More over, the vast difference in speed is a great cause for concern. There is a lobby group, the National Motorists Association Australia, who believe cyclists cannot safely integrate with fast-moving vehicles on busy roads. Their spokesman Michael Lane claims, "Motor vehicles and bicycles are fundamentally incompatible. Cars are fast and heavy. Bikes are slow and flimsy. The two do not mix. It's dangerous and it's not fair to either cyclists or the motorists."

No prizes for guessing which foldie this is!

I'm not sure if I share his opinion but with proper infrastructure and traffic planning, I believe cars and bicycles can co-exist happily together, especially with dedicated bike lanes.
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They have done so in the Nordic countries for many years in the past, and will continue for many years in the future. But it won't be easy for Australia and other countries just starting on their journey with the bicycle. It will take very strong political will to give bicycles the rightful place on the roads and the hills in front, though formidable are not insurmountable.


ps: How can motorists and cyclists be friends.... the article from SMH dated 14 Aug 09 which this post is a response to.

1 comment:

James said...

Hi,

Just a quick question about your bike commuting. As a London based (for now) Dahon Mu-SL owner I was bemused & confused by Transperth's folding bike policy. Do they enforce the belt driven & in a bag policy for folding bikes?

James.