If you follow the many different Facebook pages that cover cycling in Australia, a common theme is “We should be more like the Netherlands”. When you look at the videos and the photos, you see giant multi story carparks full of bikes and you read about 10,000 bikes passing a single point in a day. Sounds fantastic…
So as a cyclist you sure you would love Australia to be like that. But we are different, our cities are different, our car driving habits are different and we start our quest for cycling nirvana from a long way behind.
So I suggest we look a bit closer to home, our capital city … CANBERRA
Canberra has pretty close to a full network of bike trails, I have ridden 60km from the top to the bottom of Canberra, a journey through a number of suburbs that are separated by large open spaces, farms even. I have also ridden to Belconnen and around the Lake Burley Griffin lake system. As I rode I saw numerous shared bike paths heading of in all directions, many of them even had tunnels and bridges to encourage continuous passage through the cars roads. I also observed traffic jams of kids being driven to school and I saw a lot of people riding in the inner city and to the university between 8am and 9am.
So have the lovely people of Canberra embraced cycling as a result of this great bike network ? This article points out that nearly 500,000 people cycled on the Sullivans Creek trail last year, That’s about 1400 people every day just on this one trail.
Another statistic I read was 25% of Canberrian’s ride a bike once a week. That’s a good health result.
I put to Australian town planners, study Canberra and even better go there and ride your bikes. Our cities can achieve the same things as Canberra if we have good connected bike networks.
Here is the Google map of bike trails next to my map of bike trails that I have ridden. Links to my stories on Canberra follow that.