I'm on the citizen's jury on cycling safety - and I need your help

Hi all, thanks to a late dropout I was put on the citizen's jury on cycling safety.

I'm here now to ask for your help. But first some background info.

The jury

The official topic is: Motorists and cyclists will always be using our roads. What things could we trial to ensure they share the road safely?

I like the topic. It doesn't focus on the childish name calling and accusations that dominate the debate. 

The jurors

Basically 30ish people consisting of:

  • a lot of retirees
  • some people in the 30-50 bracket 
  • a handful young civics/politics nerds.

This breakdown isn't surprising given the time commitment and small remuneration. It seems like a pretty reasonable bunch of people from the first meeting.

Me

I am a seriously keen cyclist. I commute in and out of the city every day and road ride 2-3 times a week. I've never had a driver's licence either so I'm all-in on the 2-wheeled transport.

My general attitude on the car/bike thing is:

  • know the goddam law
  • follow the goddam law
  • don't be an asshole.

This "war on the roads" is a media beat-up. Basically you have road users not obeying the laws, and not treating each other with courtesy. This is where the friction comes from.

How you can help

I need help pooling resources on cycling. I am taking my position on this jury very seriously. I want to be the best educated person on cycling in the room. This process is about making meaningful and sustainable change. The more I know, the better I can steer the jury in positive directions.

So please post:

  • studies
  • statistics
  • reports
  • anything else useful on all things cycling, cycling infrastructure and cycling attitudes from anywhere in the world.

I want to represent Adelaide cyclists as best I can, including all of you. You can either post resources here, or email me directly: jameshdraison@gmail.com.

This is a great opportunity for this online community to be directly involved in this process. 

I'll keep you posted on the happenings of the jury. It isn't a private process so I'll do my best to relay what's going on.

Cheers, James

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I agree, but attitudes are notoriously difficult to change so I wouldn't focus on that too much. What you will find however, is that attitudes often change to support a new behaviour. If you bring about a change in behaviour towards cyclists (e.g., through a new passing law or similar) people tend to adjust their attitudes in favour of the behaviour that they consistently perform - it's called cognitive dissonance - people adjust their beliefs and attitudes to justify their behaviour or choices.

This is true. A lot of places with a strong cycling culture have had it unpopularly forced on them against their will and have adjusted to accept it.

Hi James, get in touch with these guys, they've been doing a lot lately it seems and really seem to have a good approach and information

http://cycle.org.au/

Happy to help out James.

Call us on 03 9416 9300 during office hours or email me at edward@cycle.org.au

It would be good to help and know what is going on.

And thanks Kristian.

By the way, obviously a lot of us are very interested in this so if you're permitted to could you provide updates as things unfold?

Absolutely.

Good luck, for I fear the recomendations will ne nothing more than shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. If there is no money behind it, which there isn't, then it looks like a big PR exercise.

"What things could we trial to ensure they share the road safely?", the operative elements in this sentence being share the road already suggests the most important element, infrastructure, will not be considered in any meaningful way. 

I don't belive that attitude, which is essentially cultural change, is easy to implement. Anyone having experienced change management, understands that internalisation of cultural change is the hardest aspect to implement and often follows structural change, rather than leading the change. The attitude change is primarily needed in a few champions who have the power and influence at an organisational level, in this case a few senior Ministers, and if they are not serious, then the whole thing will just be a PR exercise (which I think it is, the show Utopia springs to mind).

However, if there are some powerful champions for change (and they somehow find a wad of cash), then I would suggest aiming for decent cycling infrastructure within a 5km radius of the CBD. This is a simple strategy of aiming for low hanging fruit. Get as many commuters as possible, within a 5km radius to the CBD, to swap to cycling, by providing a safe alternative to "sharing the roads" and you start to develop a critical mass of people needed to drive broader cultural change.

Once again good luck and maybe temper your expectations.

Bear in mind these 5km commuters don't all need to live within 5 km of the CBD.  Come the nicer weather it's not uncommon on Beulah Road in the morning to see people parking 5 km out of town and getting bikes off the back of the car.  They usually look like commuters. 

Don't even need nice weather I've been observing people doing that all winter along Duthy street!

Actually if it's nicer weather I tend to ride the whole 13km from home.  It is in the crappy weather I drive to within a couple of km of city and ride the last few km to avoid parking and the worst of the traffic

I'll keep you posted on the happenings of the jury. It isn't a private process so I'll do my best to relay what's going on.

Thanks very much James.  Do you know how many people on the jury would count as cyclists ?  

The thing that always gets me about the supposed cycling/driver conflict is that many of us (how many I wonder?) are both. I commute to work pretty regularly but in bad weather, or when I'm not feeling well for some reason or weekends or evenings I drive a car. So I'm internally conflicted I guess !

I've actually been having some success with friends/ work colleagues/ other school parents/ etc etc, when they refer to me as a "cyclist" I correct them that I'm a "road user" or "commuter"- seems to disarm most of them straight away if they want an argument or rant anti cyclist. Also pointing out that we can all provide examples of people on bikes, driving cars, driving buses, cabs etc who are dickheads and do stupid things. The common denominator is a person in charge of the vehicle, not not the type of vehicle is the issue.

Good luck with it, I'll be very interested to see how it all goes

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