There are obvious health benefits through exercise and a decrease in pollution created by car use.
In Europe and Scandinavia there is an accepted culture of bike riding as the preferred choice of transport. In Australia, it is almost the complete opposite with many motorists having an aversion to cyclists. There is a push to promote Canberra as a tourism cycling destination, which potentially has a huge market. The only problem is that we’re not always the most welcoming place to visit for cyclists with considerable aggression from a percentage of the motoring public and the fast flow of traffic in and around most suburbs.
The issue of road space and cyclists in Civic is about to hit new heights with the Cycling Promotion Fund linking up with Pedal Power and the ACT Government to create an iconic image of how things would look without cars in the centre of the city.
The Cycling Promotion Fund is an independent group set up to promote cycling. It is funded in part by the cycling industry that, no doubt, would be keen to see more people buying bikes, but there are other agendas that intersect with this need.
People I know in the bike industry very much live the cycling lifestyle and there is a firm belief in their product.
You can understand why the ACT Government is involved; governments around the world are trying to work out how to transport people by alternate means, such as cycling.
To this end, all three parties are coming together to recreate one of the most iconic photos on the subject of cars, buses and cyclists. The original was taken on the main street of the German city of Muenster in 1991 featuring three visions. The first shows the required space to transport 60 people by car, the second shows 60 people by bus, and the third is the space required to transport 60 people by bike.
On Sunday, September 9, Allara Street, between Constitution Avenue and the casino, will be closed for four hours in a bid to recreate the image created by the photo in Germany. The image will then be used to promote the use of bikes over cars in the city centre. It’s understood cycling groups in other cities are looking to create a similar image, but are waiting to see how it is created in Canberra.
ON the issue of cycling, the ACT Olympic Council is seeking to have the presentation ceremony for Michael Rogers’ bronze medal from the 2004 Olympic Games take place in Canberra next year as part of the Centenary celebrations.
Rogers, one of Canberra’s greatest athletes, having won world titles in 2003, 2004 and 2005, has been retrospectively awarded the bronze medal from the time trial from the Athens Olympics. He finished fourth, but the gold medallist, Tyler Hamilton, was stripped of the title after confessing to drug use.
Alas, for Michael Rogers, there was no magic moment on the podium; the local Olympic Council would like to see that changed with a ceremony in Canberra next year. It would be an event in itself.