This is a re-post of the article I wrote for the latest edition of The Bicycle Institute quarterly, Pedal Update.
Considering some of the discussion on Adelaide Cyclists, I thought it would be good to spread the story around a bit.
Adelaide: Heaps okay, really!
It’s easy to knock Adelaide, especially if you’re a bike user. It’s soooo easy to compare our cycling infrastructure and bike culture to Copenhagen, Portland, Amsterdam, Paris, London, Barcelona, New York, and have Adelaide come off as distinctly second best.
Come on. We get enough of this attitude with the ridiculous rivalry between Adelaide and Melbourne.
Yes, it’s good to look at examples of successful infrastructure and behavioural change programs. And yes, there’s plenty to be done with upgrading and implementing a solid cycling network. The connectivity of bike lanes across intersections, arterials and through black spots is crucial, and certainly needs work. But part of creating a cultural change is appreciating what we’ve got, and using it!
This is not to say that you should try to ride on routes where you feel unsafe. Find the routes that are safe. There are many. Find the times that feel good.
Discover bits of Adelaide you never knew existed – that are on your way to work, the shops, the school, that meeting on the other side of town.
The call goes out for more bike paths – but we already have many great bike paths! Yes, we’d love more – but I reckon some of our paths and routes would be the envy of Barcelona, Paris and even Copenhagen.
I’m lucky that with my casual job, I am required to get out to schools all around the metropolitan and outer metropolitan area. Out of dozens of schools, there have been two where I have required a lift in a vehicle – the rest I can ride to from Payneham, using Adelaide’s CURRENT bike infrastructure. Linear Park. West Torrens Bikeway. Mike Turtur Bikeway, the Unley commuter routes, the many paths through the Parklands, the many side streets that run parallel to arterial routes, the mode-share with the trains (buses we are still working on!), the pedestrian lights that get me over a busy road, the joy of riding down Anzac Hwy or West Terrace or Portrush Rd at 10pm when it’s nearly empty….
Councils all around the Adelaide metropolitan area are starting to seriously consider cycling infrastructure and encourage cycling culture. They understand that it makes good economic sense for them, to reduce congestion, free up car parking, and have a healthier, more actively engaged community. Adelaide is on the cusp of something big. But today, right now, we have a great cycling city. Perfect? No. Can we can find things to complain about? Always. But we can also find plenty things to love. I want to ride here. In the future, and now.
Add a Comment