Cycling is a cost-effective, healthy and environmentally friendly alternative mode of transport to use of cars, and so should be encouraged.
The bicycle is a non-motorised, hence quiet and non-polluting form of transport. Travel by bicycle suits urban spaces.
Encouraging cycling requires safer roads - slower motor vehicle speeds and less conflict between cyclists and motor vehicles.
Benefits of Cycling
- More physical exercise means better health for cyclists.
- Less air pollution means better health for the whole community.
- Less fuel consumption means slower climate change and slower oil depletion.
- Less money spend on car purchase and use allows households to spend more money on other items.
- Less demand for road and car parking space means more land available for urban development.
- Slower and reduced traffic through urban centres makes them more attractive to tourists and locals.
Cycling vs Cars
There are too many cars on Australian roads. Cycling offers a healthier, more ecologically friendly substitute for car use in Australian towns and cities. Increased daily cycling for home-to-work and other journeys would get people out of their cars and take cars off the road, with subsequent benefits for health, natural ecosystems, and urban amenity.
Peak Hour Cycling
Commuter cycling is a good solution for cities that wish to cut down peak hour traffic congestion, but with a smaller, capital investment in public transport vehicles.
If the peak hour passenger transport task were to be shifted from cars onto public transport alone, it would require a much larger fleet of vehicles (buses, trains, trams). That's more buses (etc) to sit idle during non-peak periods. By encouraging cycling-to-work, the community can reclaim peak hour roads without having to purchase so many (bigger) vehicles.
Public Transport and Bicycles
Public transport services that carry bicycles extend the range and convenience of cycling.
The urban road system provides a dense network of well maintained, obstacle free pathways for cyclists. Conflicts between cyclists and cars can be minimised by providing safe, bicycle-dedicated roadspace or by slowing the speed of cars.
Urban Speed Limits
Bicycles can share the road with cars reasonably safely, but only if they have their own dedicated lanes, or the cars move slowly.
The general urban speed limit (currently 50 or 60 km/h in Australian cities) should be reduced to a safe speed limit of 30 km/h. Higher speed limits in urban areas, indicated by signage, should only be allowed on roads that have dedicated paths for vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.
Cycle Paths | A cycle path or bike path is an off-road pathway, or a road lane, designated for use by cyclists. Many cities have installed, or plan to install cycle paths, often in extensive networks, to encourage cycling.
Using Cycling to Take Cars Off the Road | Michael Robertson | Urban Ecology Australia | 2005.5 | The density of cars on urban roads in Australia has numerous disbenefits. Cycling offers a way of reducing this density of cars, and so reducing the disbenefits. But to encourage urban cycling, we need to address the safety of urban roads, both main roads and local streets.
Australian National Cycling Strategy 2005-2010. Australian Bicycle Council
Canberra Bicycle 2000 - Bike Plan. ACT Planning and Land Authority
Queensland Cycle Strategy. Cycling in Queensland
SA Cycling Strategy 2006 - Safety in Numbers (PDF). Transport. South Australia
Australian Road Rules | Rules regulating cyclists and other road users
Benefits of Cycling | Australian Bicycle Council.
The Bicycle Parking Handbook (PDF) | Bicycle Victoria
Bus and Bike Interaction within the Road Network. Austroads - How to let buses and bikes share the same roadspace with minimal conflict.
Cycle Safety: A National Perspective. Australian Transport Safety Bureau. 2004.12
Cycling and Health Promotion | British Medical Journal | 2000.4.1 - How can we encourage cycling, and so improve health? A safer, slower urban road environment is the key.
Cycling Data and Indicator Guidelines (DOC) Australian Bicycle Council
Do Compulsory Bike-Helmet Regulations Improve Health? Cyclists Rights Action Group.
Forecasting Demand for Bicycle Facilities (PDF). Australian Bicycle Council
Lugging Gear in Car Crazed California. Environmental Defence (US). 2006.9.14 - A photographer goes car-free in Los Angeles with the help of saddle packs on his bicycle.
TravelSmart Employers Kit - Cycling. TravelSmart Australia
Pedal Power (ACT)
Interface for Cycling Expertise (Netherlands)