Our Cities Need To Future-Proof Infrastructure To Cater For Those Using Alternative Forms Of Transport
Courtesy of news.com.au by Matthew Dunn on 7 August 2015
OWNING a bicycle and using it as your main mode of transport makes you an awesome human.
I know this because I ride to work every day, which means I am essentially the Cadel Evans of news.com.au.
Just to clarify, despite my hipster attributes I don’t own a single speed fixie, nor am I one of those lyrca-clad cyclists loitering inside your local cafes.
However, I have nothing against those riders because we are all part of collective changing the world for the better.
This is why I am shocked to find cities are not working harder to future-proof infrastructure to cater for those using alternative forms of transport.
In fact, last week the New South Wales state government started removing a bike path from Sydney’s central business district to create another lane for cars.
The Save College St Cycleway group said the decision was “single largest backward step for cycling in this country for 20 years” and I have to agree.
With population growth and urbanisation of cities imminent, we need to have infrastructure that finds a balance between cars, bicycles, pedestrians and public transport.
I admit cities are getting better at compensating for bike riders and a decent chunk of my commute is ridden on a dedicated cycle way.
However, those parts of my commute without bike paths are downright scary at best.
Not only am I subject to constant abuse from angry motorists obviously feeling guilty about the poisonous fumes they are sending into the atmosphere, but I am filled with the constant fear of being run down by a car.
That feeling is also shared by my mother who fears her precious son will be collected by a truck while doing an activity to help improve his overall health.
These fears are justified after looking at road fatality statistics obtained from the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
This year alone, there has already been 17 bicycle related fatalities around Australia, and there has been 217 recorded deaths since 2010.
While death is obviously the worst case scenario, there are also endless accounts of cyclists being injured from collisions.
One only has to look at recent footage that emerged of a cyclist being hit by a taxi after swerving to avoid an opening car door to see the risks cyclists face when there are no bike lanes.
Partner of Stacks Law Firm Nathan Luke said there has been an increase in cyclist seeking his services following accidents with vehicles in recent times.
“The reality is that cyclists can lawfully use public roads but they do so without the protection of big hunks of metal around them and without seat belts or airbags,” he wrote in a blog post.
“While cyclists should obviously obey the rules of the road to avoid accidents, where there is an accident between a cyclist and a motor vehicle it is the cyclist who faces catastrophic injuries or death and not the other way around.
“We’d rather cyclists weren’t injured on the roads, and that means better safety provisions and more protected bike lanes.”
In addition to the obvious safety benefits to having bike paths, once built they are far easier to maintain because a bicycle does far less damage than a two-tonne vehicle.
This means every bike on the road will eventually be saving tax payers money. You’re welcome.
If you disagree with anything mentioned in this article, feel feel to forward complaints to @mattydunn11