The story of the week was how Brisbane’s bicycling community and the power of social media helped return a stolen family wagon. Sharon contacted us on Saturday afternoon to ask everyone to keep a look out for a distinctive “Butchers and Bicycle” trike which had been stolen from their carport in Kedron sometime between 9am and 10am that morning. Ben has a medical condition which means he can’t drive, so the bike is the family wagon, and they were desperate to get it back. By Saturday evening, Sharon’s post had been shared over 1600 times, and there had been numerous reported sightings of the stolen bike. One of those posts was spotted by the thief’s friends, who immediately helped him contact Sharon and return the bike! There was some minor damage which can be repaired, but overall the family were just delighted to have their transport back. The last word goes to Sharon:
I can not thank everyone one who shared commented and left me messages and sent information enough. That is the reason we have it back!!!
Also, stay off the drugs people! The guy who took it is having a really rough time of it… wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
If you were a bit intrigued by the story of Ben and Sharon’s unique bike, you won’t want to miss the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2020 featuring Motherload – a crowdsourced documentary showcasing the cargo bicycle as a vehicle for exploring motherhood in this digital age of climate change. Tickets are now on sale for this event on Saturday 14th March at Schonell Cinema. We’ll also be screening the finalists in the Brisbane Bike Bites short film competition. Join us for the best bicycle themed event in Brisbane, just a week before the 2020 Brisbane City Council election.
Speaking of Council, this week’s meeting of Council’s committee responsible for Public and Active Transport, Economic and Tourism Development, and Does Anyone Read This Far was given a presentation on Brisbane’s Economic Profile. Most striking was this graph, which—aside from the bizarre scale—tells a depressing story: Brisbane is highly car-dependent, with 62% of people driving to work, and only around 1% commuting by bike, and 3% walking.
We often hear “well that’s because they’re tradies and have to carry tonnes of tools everywhere”… except the data tells a very different story: 1 in 3 jobs are in Healthcare and Social Services, Professional Scientific and Technical, and Education and Training. (You can find the report on Council’s website).
After the presentation, there were a few moments for questions, and Jonathan Sri, Councillor for The Gabba took the opportunity to ask other committee members their views (and feedback from their communities) on lowering speed limits on residential streets from 50kph to 40kph. Cr James Mackay (Walter Taylor Ward) attempted to deflect this as an issue for the Infrastructure Committee, but Cr Sri pointed out that it was critical for people’s transport choice; people walking, cycling, and accessing public transport are critically impacted by speed. Cr Tracy Davis, newly appointed councillor for McDowall Ward and Deputy Chair of the Committee said she had not given the matter much thought. Which is frankly concerning given her position.
We think the responses to Cr Sri’s question—and the lack of understanding and emphasis on public and active transport from the committee supposed to be responsible—go a long way to explaining the sorry results in this image. If we continue with the same car-blindness, given the predicted future growth of Brisbane, traffic will continue to choke and cripple our city.
While we’re having a gripe, take a look at the condition of Lytton Rd, Morningside, past Balmoral State High School. Would you let your children ride to school along here?
East BUG Inc. have nominated this as the worst road on the the Principal Cycle Network, but we know there’s some stiff competition around Brisbane. What do you think? We asked our supporters to comment with their nomination for the worst “principal cycle route” in Brisbane. West BUG pointed out it was hard to go past Moggill Road, Kenmore for them. Two fatalities in the last 8 years, and all we’ve got is a sign saying “Watch for cyclists. Change lanes to pass.” We’re still waiting for the report from the Moggill Road Corridor Planning Study that was commissioned 2 years ago.
On a brighter note, Airport BUG sent through the latest update on the North Brisbane Bikeway: the inbound section is almost complete and it’s all downhill. The Mawarra St section looks lovely and shady too. The area in from of the Old Fire Station is still a forest of bollards though.
Separated cycleways are awesome – the best way to escape congestion. This is what a healthier, happier commute looks like:
Let’s have more of this, and less 🚗🚗🚗
There was a bit of an issue with motorcycles parked across the bikeway near QUT (between the Goodwill Bridge and the start of the Bicentennial Bikeway). Although this may look idiotic to us, bear in mind that this space was motorcycle parking for the last 18 months, and even still has the lines faintly marked. The fences have moved, but there is nothing obvious to say this spot is no longer for parking, and the owner of this bike has likely just done what they have been doing for the last year. Brisbane City Council were notified, and hopefully we won’t see this mistake again.
Chris had the honour of having the first official meeting at the new office Mount Ommaney MP Jess Pugh, in Sinnamon Park this week. They discussed the potential for improved bike parking in the plans for the Darra Park’n’Ride upgrade, progress of the Sumners Road Interchange Project which will include a significant upgrade to the Centenary Bikeway, and the just released business case for the Centenary Bridge upgrade. Chris also told Jess about the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2020, featuring Motherload, and invited Mount Ommaney residents to get creative with their bikes and their cameras, and enter the Brisbane Bike Bites short film competition.
On the north side, Andrew caught up with Anika Wells MP, Federal Member for Lilley, to talk about the importance of including cycling requirements when federal money is used for black spot road funding, and ensuring new infrastructure and road “upgrades” include good provision for cycling. They also talked about the benefits of balance bikes for kids learning to ride. Anika has accepted the invitation to join Andrew for a bike ride soon.
On Saturday morning, Leah Malzard who is Labor’s council candidate for Hamilton Ward, joined representatives from Airport BUG, East BUG Inc. and Brisbane North BUG at Viola Place to check out the missing bikeway connection through to Kingsford Smith Drive and the Gateway Bridge. For people like David, who rides to work at the airport from Wynnum, this link would make the trip much easier and safer.
Stephen also took the opportunity to brief Leah on the value of connecting the North Brisbane Bikeway through to Eagle Junction. Leah is not a bike rider herself, but we really appreciate her taking the time to understand the issues in Hamilton Ward. We need a council administration that takes active transport seriously. More people on bikes, means less congestion on the roads, and a better city for everyone.
It was thirsty work out on the bike on Saturday if you were riding into the wind, but despite that, the new counter on the Kingsford Smith Drive bikeway had almost reached 400 by 10am on Saturday. Even riding slowly (which we recommend on days like this) it’s not hard to be faster than motor-vehicle traffic when you’re travelling on a good bikeway. Kingsford Smith Drive is slow for the roadworks at the moment, but even when that’s finally finished, the thing about adding more general-traffic lanes is: the effects don’t last. After a short period of smoother traffic flow, induced demand guarantees traffic will be as slow as it has ever been; there will just be more of it. It’s time to stop pouring money into foolhardy road widening projects, and start investing in solutions that will allow people options for getting around that are healthier for them and for the planet.
Later in the day, Belinda had another chance to catch up with Patrick Condren, who’s Labor’s candidate for Lord Mayor in March 2020. Yes, we approve of his t-shirt! We love that Patrick is out campaigning in a shirt that invites a conversation about cycling. Brisbane needs a Lord Mayor who will champion healthy transport choices.
But it was Greens candidate for Coorparoo Ward, Sally Dillon who had the coolest cycling campaign manoeuvre of the week, showing her skills mounting a penny farthing – which she rode from home to the End of the Line Festival in Woolloongabba.
Have your say about South Bank
You can drop a pin on a map say what you love about South Bank as it is now, and what you’d like to see improved. We suggest dropping lots of pins along Grey St, pointing out that there needs to be a safe through route for cycling which doesn’t involve riding along the Clem Jones Promenade.
There’s also an online survey. Although the multiple choice responses seem to ignore cycling at the beginning of the survey, there are options to talk about the importance of safe and practical active transport connections later.
In Other News
Here’s a cautionary tale from Chicago: on a street which was supposed to have buffered bike lanes—until the project was cancelled when residents and businesses demanded the kerbside be dedicated to car storage—a woman on a bike was killed this week. It shouldn’t be surprising that people struggle with change, and if these projects characterised as “taking away” something like “parking spaces” (which in reality is just kerbside public space), it’s easy to see how residents can feel that they’re “losing” to “cyclists”. We’re working to change the conversation so that more people can appreciate what they stand to gain by making their streets safe and comfortable for active transport, even if they have no intention of ever riding themselves. (Then again, with an e-bike, and the right connections they might surprise even themselves!).