Cycling in Sydney Australia
Research produced by Professor Rissel last year found that one in five adults surveyed in Sydney would ride bikes more if they weren't required to wear a helmet.
Unless those two are the lovely 'TRAFFIC' couple after they have their car impounded. That'll make things safer for the rest of us.
Ah, finally someone has thought to look at the denominator!
Would be interesting to know what the trend is for average distance travelled per week. It was rare to see people cycling regualry to work in the '80s, but much more common now.
Average distance travelled would be similar to the average distance travelled in just about any other city in the world - we're not so exceptional, although Australians, given the vastness of this continent, seem to think they travel a lot further than the rest of the planet. They don't.
It was not rare at all in the 80s to see people riding to work... and as a percentage of the population, it was probably much greater. It may appear more common now simply because the observer (ie. you) is now riding to work more than you did in the 80s and tends to notice it now that they are part of that group. It's a common perceptual error.
I commuted all through the 80's through and up to 1998 apart from 90/91/92 when I was living OS, and I can tell you it was much rarer than today. When I was training for races or for the new season, I would sometimes get up, go training and then commute. Generally, I was the only one in my building with 3000 people in it that had a pushbike until ironically the MHL came in, then the numbers increased a little. I had a lot of mates who raced as well in my club (SCC) and in others (RB, ES and ST) and very, very few of those guys commuted. Some did, but few.
I can also say that without doubt, it was pretty much open warfare on the roads because you were forced to take up the whole lane when riding on the road, primarily to force the cars to slow down and go around you and change lanes rather than try and squeeze past. Also from an ethical stand point rather than a legal stand point, we would never ride up the inside of cars at lights, because if the car drivers had taken the time to carefully get past you, then you really shouldn't force them to do it again. In the end, I stopped riding in May 1998 when a volvo was driven straight at me. I had had enough.
I started commuting again a few months back, and though it is not ideal by any stretch of the imagine, it is generally better with the proliferations of bike lanes and paths.
I also do not believe for a moment that wearing a helmet or not has had any affect on the number of cyclists commuting. I would say that it is much more likely that the advent of computer games, internet and increasing competitiveness of the workforce has had a much more dramatic effect. Just my opinion but I shall always wear a helmet, and so shall my kids while I am responsible for them. After that it is their choice.
So the reason we do the studies and gather data is because individual's recollections and opinions are quite unreliable, and can lead to exactly the type of opinion vs fact mistakes that you display very clearly here.
All those fines issued for not wearing a helmet aren't having any effect on the number of trips made by bicycle? Obvious really.
I actually read the original study that suggested, and did only suggest that MHL was responsible for a drop in numbers. It was a leap of faith conclussion, not a scientific study.
I guess that I could be biased, but to be honest if I could see a scientific, wide ranging study that openly came to the conclussion that MHL was the primary responsibility for the drop in cycling numbers, I would be quiet.
Bike shop owners have definitely had a rough time for a while. I may be an old grumpy bastard, but I think it was started from the doping scandal of the Festina team, Pantani, and the popularity of EOP through to Millar, is when cycling really started to drop in popularity. The faithful had lost their faith. Perhaps in someways, if it wasn't for Triathlon, cycling may have dropped further.
On the other side of the coin, look at the growth in popularity within clubs now. SCC started in 1976 with 3 guys, and now boast around 320 members, Dulwich Hill and Lidcombe-Auburn have come back from the brink, and we started Oatley Cycling Community 2 years ago and have around 80 riders in that collective. It is definitely on the upswing with us mamils.
I am pretty busy at work this afternoon, so this shall be quick. But, I used to love the great organisation that the Warratah's brought to their race at the old Homebush site. It was a nice race with people who could handle their bikes well. You guys always had some great supports from my old club, and maybe one day, if I can get fit and learn to handle my bike properly again in a bunch, I shall go and have a dawdle with the over 50's.
I know that it is very easy to believe in syllogism, but I really do believe that cyclings lack of popularity has zip to do with MHL. Cycling is a dangerous past-time, always has been and always will be. But by god, it is enjoyable. Riding to work has reinvigorated my love of cycling.
"Cycling is a dangerous past-time, always has been and always will be."
This is where you're wrong. Dead wrong on many levels.
- Cycling is not a "past-time" for many people, it's transport
- Cycling is not dangerous at all. It's safer than driving
- After cycling (transport) in many countries overseas I've seen the light.
This sort of skewed view of what cycling 'is' does nothing at all to encourage people (other than the brave and fit) to even bother trying again. I know plenty of friends that get their kicks by banging on about how 'tough' they are and how 'risky' cycling is.
I cycle more than they do and I'm faster & fitter than the lot of them... and have had fewer falls (last fall was almost 30y ago) but they want to maintain this perception that cycling is dangerous...
It must be a macho thing. I don't buy into that sort of juvenile BS.
And to illustrate my point:
All of these people are 'cyclists' if we wanted to define them, however those on the left have a very different risk profile to those on the right. I want people to see that... particularly current cyclists, many of whom don't quite understand that it is such a broad church.
I probably spend about 10,000km cycling like the two on the left (illegal in Australia) and slightly more kilometres cycling like that on the right (although not in many races). I think I know a thing or two about riding a bicycle... many different types of bicycle.