Archive for the ‘Bike advocacy’ Category

Letter to the Local Councillors and State Members of Parliament advocating for safe bike infrastructure in Maribyrnong

Photo via ABC

As promised in my previous post, here is my email regarding the death of a female cyclist at the corner of Whitehall St and Somerville Road Yarraville yesterday after being struck by a truck.

I sent a variation of this email to every City of Maribyrnong councillor (info here http://www.maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/Page/Page.aspx?Page_Id=8484), Wade Noonan, the local State Member wade.noonan@parliament.vic.gov.au and Luke Donellan, Minister for Roads and Road Safety luke.donnellan@parliament.vic.gov.au, with relevant amendments for each recipient.

Because these are my personal feelings on this issue please don’t just copy-paste the whole text. But feel free to use it as a basis for a template for your own correspondence.

Let’s make some noise and make sure our voices are heard, for the safety of everyone on our streets.

 

I refer to the news today that a female cyclist in her 30s died yesterday after being hit by a truck at the intersection of Whitehall Street and Somerville Road, Yarraville.

I feel compelled to write to you because that woman could easily have been me, or my children. I’m a City of Maribyrnong resident and I am a female cyclist in my 30s who cycles regularly as a mode of transport, often with my two children aged 4 and 6 years old.

Whitehall Street has an off-street bike lane but at the intersection of Somerville Road cyclists are forced to share the road with a busy truck route with a desultory ‘bike lane’ marked by a white line. There is no physical barrier, no sharrows, no bollards, bike advance traffic signals or even green road paint.

While the relevant locations are owned and managed by VicRoads, they are located within the City of Maribyrnong.

As such I am seeking your assistance to advocate for:

  • the State Government amending its design requirements for Western Distributor to include a requirement to provide safe, protected and separated cycling infrastructure at Whitehall St x Somerville Road and along Somerville Road until at least Williamstown Road (the “relevant locations”);
  • the State Government and VicRoads to engineer an interim safe cycling solution at the relevant locations until the Western Distributor is completed; and
  • an increase in spending on bicycle infrastructure by the City of Maribyrnong commensurate with other Melbourne inner city municipalities.

 

Safe cycling infrastructure at the relevant locations

I know as a local councillor you can apply political pressure on the State Government and VicRoads to engineer a safe solution to cyclists being forced to mix with cars and trucks at the relevant locations.

Firstly, the current design requirements for Western Distributor state there will be a new fully separated walking and cycling connection from the Somerville Road/Whitehall St intersection to the Maribyrnong River.

However, once a cyclist moves inland from the intersection there will be no separated bike infrastructure.

If we are to prevent further deaths at this cycling black spot then the design requirements for Western Distributor need to be amended to specifically require that there is separated bike infrastructure at the relevant locations.

Secondly, as Western Distributor will take years to complete I am also asking that you apply political pressure on the State Government and VicRoads now to engineer an interim solution that can be quickly applied to enhance the safety of the relevant locations.

Funding of cycling infrastructure in the City of Maribyrnong

This tragic death also highlights the inadequate funding that City of Maribyrnong currently allocates to cycling infrastructure.

The Maribyrnong Bicycle Strategy 2014-2019 indicates that Council recognises the benefits of environmental, mobility, health and social equity benefits of investment in infrastructure and programs supporting cycling.

A 2011 study by the Cycling Promotion Fund and the National Heart Foundation describes the top four reasons why Australians (who would like to) do not cycle for transport:

–        Unsafe road conditions (46%);

–        Speed/volume of traffic (42%);

–        Don’t feel safe riding (41%); and

–        Lack of bicycle lanes/trails (35%).

The percentages are further increased when the question is asked of women.

Further the ABS forecasts that between 2013-2031 the population in Maribyrnong is predicted to increase to 111,189, a rise of 30% on the forecast population for 2015 of 85,302.

Investing in safe cycling infrastructure directly alleviates the four main reasons why Australians do not cycle and it is an economically efficient transport solution for Maribyrnong’s predicted population growth.

The 16/17 Council budget shows proposed expenditure of $350,000 on bicycle network upgrades on the river trail, which equates to only $4.18 per capita.

If the Council is truly committed to increasing cycling as a mode of transport then it needs to increase its expenditure on cycling to be at least commensurate with other Melbourne inner city municipalities (2016 data):

–        Melbourne (VIC): $12.02 – down from $50 in 2012

–        Port Phillip (Vic): $9.36 – assumes 70% of Walk & Bike funding for bikes. Includes external funding.

–        City of Yarra (Vic): $8.64 (Excludes $485k of external funding for a shared path)

–        Darebin (Vic): $5.16

Finally you would know that Maribyrnong has a cycling gender gap (only 26% of cyclists in Maribyrnong are women) and in general women are more sensitive to the absence of dedicated bike lanes. Women are an indicator species for cycling – when a route reaches parity between genders then the route is safe for cyclists generally. Thus the measures that promote cycling as a safe mode of transport for women should be a priority when considering the allocation of cycling funding.

I am hoping that there will be a coordinated response to this tragedy so I will be sending similar correspondence to the other City of Maribyrnong councillors, Wade Noonan, State Member for Williamstown and Luke Donellan, the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Thanks in advance

 

Joyce Watts

We need to talk about safe bike infrastructure and cycling deaths

I normally try to keep CycleStyle blog posts upbeat and positive. To spread the message that cycling is a convenient, healthy and fun way to get around.

However, I woke up this morning to this horrific news. A woman in her 30s was killed last night after being hit by a truck on the corner of Somerville Road and Whitehall Street, Yarraville. 

I cried at the gym while I was thinking about this woman and her family and friends.

I’m a woman cyclist in her 30s. I live in the inner west of Melbourne. I have often ridden past that corner of Somerville Road and Whitehall Street. I am really rattled to get on my bike today.

That woman could have been me. That woman could have been my two kids. 

So I feel compelled to be take action. The two roads in question are owned and managed by VicRoads and are located within the City of Maribyrnong. Whitehall Street has an off-street bike lane but at the intersection of Somerville Road cyclists are forced to share the road with a busy truck route with a desultory ‘bike lane’ marked by a white line. There is no physical barrier, no sharrows, no bollards, bike advance traffic signals or even green road paint.

This is not good enough. 

The research is unequivocal. Bikes, cars and especially trucks don’t mix well. Cyclists need protected bike lanes to be and feel safe. Build safe bicycle infrastructure and people will use it.

VicRoads know this. City of Maribyrnong know this. Their lack of action is due to lack of funding and lack of political will.

So this woman’s needless death is the time to make your voice heard. I urge you to write to:

Demand a coordinated team response to this tragedy. Demand more funding for bicycle infrastructure in the City of Maribyrnong from the council and from VicRoads. Given the projected population growth at Maribyrnong, both the state and local government need to step up its financial commitment to provide safe options for more people to cycle as a mode of transport.

I have posted a version of my emails to the various politicians here.

**UPDATE** A ride in memory of the cyclist Arzu Baglar has been organised for Monday 13 March 4:30pm by the advocacy and news group Cycle. I’ll be heading to this ride with my family so we can show the politicians that we need and demand action for safer cycling infrastructure in Melbourne’s west. Let’s show them some strength in numbers!

Pushy Women West – free bike training in Braybrook

bike tours melbourne

If you are a woman from Melbourne’s West who wants to learn to ride a bike (or to get a refresher course on bike riding) then sign up to The Squeaky Wheel’s newest program PUSHY WOMEN WEST!

PUSHY WOMEN WEST is a FREE bicycle training program delivered by women for women from the Braybrook Community Hub in March 2017.

You don’t need to own a bike – a bike and all safety gear is provided for the training. Once you complete the program you receive a free second-hand bicycle and safety gear from The Squeaky Wheel and Footscray Rotary Bike Shed.

An Information session will be run on Wednesday 22 February, 10am at Braybrook Community Hub. If you can’t make it but want to join just contact The Squeaky Wheel.

Learn to Ride sessions held on Wednesdays, 1, 8, 15 and 22 March, 10am – 12pm. Ideally you should commit to all sessions in order to get the most out of it, but drop in ladies are welcome too.

Note that you will not be able to bring children to the sessions but at the end of the program The Squeaky Wheel will support woment o receive a child seat from the Footscray Rotary Bike Shed.

PUSHY WOMEN WEST is brought to you by City of Maribyrnong and with the kind support of Footscray Rotary Bike Shed.

Cycling in Melbourne when you’re a woman

Cyclestyle cargobike

Today the age ran an article entitled ‘Cycling is still a mostly male affair in Melbourne‘.

As a female cyclist in Melbourne, I’m hardly surprised.

The article points out that the average Melbourne cyclist – male, aged 36-45 – rides 5-10km for commuting or transport. They are comfortable riding with general traffic on the roads.

The biggest problem with cycling in Melbourne when you’re a woman is that the city’s network of bike paths don’t connect to each other and don’t go to the places that as a general rule, women need to go.

Women, if they are parents, are often the primary caregiver. That means that the most often used route is to and from school, kindergarten, daycare. In my case, my bike route involves crossing two major roads (both truck routes) and in some cases it means mounting the pavement to avoid the traffic.

Women in general still take on the bulk of the house duties. That means I need a convenient route to the local shops and services and a place to park my bike at the other end. The safety of the route is even more paramount as I often have my children tagging along to these shops and services.

I am not riding 5-10km a day. The maximum radius of most of my day to day life is about 3-4km. It’s a distance that’s too short for driving (plus the hassle of finding somewhere to park) but too long to walk if I have young children or groceries to carry.

A bike is the perfect solution, if only I didn’t have to mix with heavy traffic and to follow bike lanes that end abruptly and force me to complete my journey on the road.

At the moment, my biggest bugbear is travelling from Footscray onto the dedicated bike path along Dynon Road. The bike path is smooth, off road and sheltered – and hardly anyone uses it because it stops abruptly at the intersection of Kensington Road. To reach Footscray (and the rest of Melbourne’s inner west) there is a footpath and bridge that is like a narrow and uneven obstacle course. You cannot have two bikes easily pass along it, let along a cargo bike. Technically I’m not even supposed to be riding on the pavement as it’s illegal in Victoria.

As such I am forced onto Dynon Road because it is wide and smooth – and also full of trucks going 60km/hr. It is an extremely scary experience with children in the cargo bike and there is no way I’d let them ride alone on the road there. However, it’s the most direct route from the northern end of Footscray into the CBD and as long as I grit my teeth and bear the 1km of terror I can then rest easy on the bike path. I am very confident riding on the roads thanks to years of experience, but I am in the minority.

When you don’t have bike paths that go to where women need to go and bike paths that aren’t built in a safe manner where they’re protected from traffic, women won’t use bikes as their preferred mode of transport. Easy as that.

What are your thoughts on why cycling is still mostly a male affair in Melbourne?

Wheelie Good Day North Melbourne – Sunday 1 May 2016

Wheelie Good Day is a community gathering and street party in Melrose Street North Melbourne and it’s on this Sunday 1 May 11am-4pm.

The day is all about educating and training families to ride a bike plus a full with a program of workshops, tours and fun!

We’ll be there with the Book Swap Bike, a Christiania cargo bike filled with secondhand children’s books and a pop up reading lawn. Families are invited to either bring a book to swap, to borrow a book to read together or to participate in colouring-in and/or craft activities.

Other fun activities include:
  • Face painting & bike decorating for KIDS
  • Bike doctors and skills course for KIDS
  • Pimp your bike workshop for TEENS
  • Bike skills course & tours of the local area for ADULTS
  • Long kick and handball competitions with North Melbourne Football Club
  • Knitting, knotting and weaving with a POM POM workshop
  • Hip Hop Street Show by Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance students!
  • Bike Tuneups from GOOD CYCLES
  • Fix a Flat with PONY BIKES
  • Bike Engraving from VIC POLICE
  • Street Mural suggestion workshop
  • CARGONE COURIERS Bike Boom Box
  • Delicious food & coffee from POCKET CAFE
  • ROLL UP Bicycle Valet Parking
  • $1 MAMMOTH ice cream, on a bike
  • BIKE n’ BLEND pedal powered Smoothies

See you there!

 

Wheelie Good Day

Sunday 1 May 2016 11am-4pm

Melrose Street, between Erskine and Canning Streets, North Melbourne

FREE event

World Bicycle Relief – the Buffalo Bike

Fullscreen capture 18052014 43743 PM.bmp

World Bicycle Relief is all about mobilising people through the power of bicycles.

Entrepreneurs, farmers, healthcare workers and students in rural Africa transport heavy loads long distances over rugged terrain to meet basic needs. Compared to walking, bicycles allow people to haul more goods over longer distances in less time – provided the bicycle is strong and durable. 

World Bicycle Relief has connected rural Africans with bicycle suppliers; the result is a robust bicycle engineered specifically for rural African terrain and load requirements.

The Buffalo bike is designed, tested and assembled in Africa with close attention to end-user feedback and rigorous quality control. Buffalo bicycles are compatible with locally available spare parts, ensuring that with proper maintenance they will last for years.

For more information click here.

We’ve been nominated for a Cycling Luminaries award – Velo City Global Adelaide 2014

award

We’re so excited that Cyclestyle has been nominated for a Cycling Luminaries Award!

The Cycling Luminaries Awards celebrate the leadership and visions from across Australia and the globe that creates the environment that gets people riding. CycleStyle has been short listed in the ‘Pimp my Bike – Cycle Chic’ category.

The winners will be selected by a panel consisting of 6 experts representing each of the award categories and presented at Velo-city Global,  the world’s leading international urban cycling planning conference, to be held in Adelaide from 27 – 30 May 2014.

We’re thrilled that not only we do we get to shop for our favourite bike gear from all around the world but that our work has been acknowledged to get more people, especially women, riding as an everyday mode of transport.

We look forward to meeting our customers, supporters and many inspirational speakers at Velo-city Globala four day event that will host a program of over 170 presenterssocial activitiescycling tours; offering delegates from around the world a chance to share the best practices for creating and sustaining cycling-friendly cities, where bicycles are valued as part of daily transport and recreation.

And who knows, maybe we’ll bring home a trophy!

Bike Buddies in Sydney

Bike Buddies Sydney

Bike Buddies is a website which matches aspiring bike riders with experienced riders (‘Angel Buddies’) in Sydney.

The volunteer Angel Buddies meet with aspiring riders and provide the guidance that a new rider needs to feel comfortable and confident. Together, they’ll go on a practice ride and the Angel Buddy will show the buddy the best route and give advice on riding in the city traffic. 

What a great idea – we hope that Bike Buddies will be able to expand nationally one day!

The Most Bike Friendly Cities in the World

This year the Copenhagen Index evaluated 150 cities for qualities including bicycle advocacy, gender split, and infrastructure. Here’s how the top 14 cities stacked up. 

As Copenhagenize says ‘The bicycle makes sense in cities. Investment in bicycle infrastructure is a modern and intelligent move for a city to make. Studies from Denmark tell us that for every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a net profit of 23 cents. For every kilometre driven by car we suffer a net loss of -16 cents. With rising urbanisation our cities need modern mobility solutions and the bicycle proves time and again that it can offer them.’

Copenhagen index

Get your bike ready for Ride to Work Day

Ride to Work Day is on Wednesday 16 October this year. Why not skip the crammed trams and trains and bike to work once in a while?

Before you go, make sure your cycle is safe and sound. Check out this infographic for a 10-point checklist that will get you ready to ride.

Ride to Work Day infographic

How many cars did you pass today?

The Bicycle Channel filmed one cyclist’s commute from Essendon to the Melbourne CBD. 

He added up the cars he overtook and subtracted the ones passing him – and in total beat 589 vehicles into the city! Think how much better it would be for all commuters, drivers especially, if there were more bikes around.

How many cars did YOU pass today? 

Bike train

Bike trains are a great way for kids and their parents to cycle to school in a safe and fun environment.

This bike train in Portland is huge! And notice how many Dads (and mums) are cycling on tandem bikes or with child seats on their bikes.

Dads on Wheels

Don’t forget that this Sunday 4 September is Fathers’ Day!

To get you in the mood, check out the inspiring collection of photos and stories of Dads on Wheels, a collaborative salute to dads who bike with their kids by Bikes and the City and Bike NOPA, both blogs out of San Francisco.

Everything’s Connected

The City of Sydney has produced a series called of videos ‘Everything’s Connected’.

Similar to the videos produced by Transport for London, these short vignettes tell stories from real-life Sydney bike riders. They express the joy and freedom of riding a bike around the city and watching them made us feel happy!

You can view and share them all from YouTube. Enjoy!

Freedom

Everyone deserves to be free!

via at Lisbon Cycle Chic

Our favourite posts – July

July marks the most prestigious bike race in the world, the Tour de France. While sprints and mountain climbs aren’t really our thing, we did find some fabulous cycle-chicness amongst the lycra.

Our favourite posts from July:

 

Stop Honking

Yes I know you’re behind me. Yes I know that you’re really anxious to get to the shops/work/home as soon as possible.

But hey the government decided to build a road which can only fit the width of a single car with no bike lane, so I’m gonna have to ride in front of you. And my little legs can’t keep up with the power of your engine.

So please, stop honking. Unless you’re just giving me a friendly hello tootle.

From My Orange Box

Moving Beyond the Automobile

Streetfilms have put together a 10 part video series called ‘Moving Beyond the Automobile‘ which talks about ‘smart and proven strategies to reduce traffic and improve street safety for all users’.

The whole series is informative and inspiring but if you’re short on time, the second film in the series is Bicycling. The mayors and transport planners it interviews across the US all bang the same drum – investing in bicycle infrastructure is good for cities and its citizens. The video goes for less than 4 minutes and is well worth your time.

Moving Beyond the Automobile: Biking from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Going grocery shopping with a bike

When I tell people I don’t have a car and I get to most places by bike, one of the common questions I get asked is ‘but how do you do your grocery shopping?’.

OK, so I don’t have to shop for a huge family and I live pretty close to various shops and markets, so I definitely have it easier than some other people. But I think you’d be surprised at the amount of stuff you can bring home on a grocery shop using panniers and baskets. If you’re happy carrying a backpack or messenger bag (which I tend not to) then there’s even more capacity.

Cycling blog Change Your Life. Ride a Bike! illustrated the point perfectly.

These bags….

And this messenger bag…

Equalled this many groceries…

What can you carry on your bike?

Riding to school

Parents and schools, don’t forget that next week Wednesday 16 March is National Ride2School Day.

Did you ever ride to school? Remember what it was like – the freedom, the speed, the fun!

We think it’s a little sad these days that it’s more common that the school run is a traffic jam of cars, often big bulky 4WD, all jostling to find a car park. We’ve even heard of traffic management wardens being appointed to manage school traffic during peak hours. It sounds like an altogether stressful and unpleasant daily experience.

This is a great video featuring a group of Orlando high school kids who gather together to form a ‘bike bus’ to ride to school. Ignore the twee background music and listen to why they ride and the benefits they gain from riding to school. The themes are universal for many urban cyclists – riding in the morning is a quiet and peaceful way to start the day, it’s better than waiting for the bus, it’s a great way to meet up with friends.

Plus of course if more kids (and parents) considered the feasibility of riding of school, maybe, as one kid says in the video, it’d make going to school and the school run much more fun!

art

via @nitramluap