We wish all our supporters a Happy New Year, although we are too painfully aware that for many Australians the start to the 2020 has been anything but happy. Our thoughts are with everyone who is struggling through the bushfire catastrophe across the country.
Now really is the right time to talk about the climate crisis; how we can maintain a high quality of life in the face of the consequences of planetary warming already locked in, and ensuring we do everything possible to limit the extent of that warming.
Urban transportation is just one part of the puzzle, but it’s something we can directly effect as individuals, and—through advocacy—at a community and city-wide level. Every trip taken by bike instead of by car matters, and combined, all those trips don’t just help the environment, they help create healthier, happier, more socially connected communities.
This year, you can help by deciding to use your car less; by helping your family, friends and colleagues to join you; by joining and supporting others advocating for change; and by supporting political candidates who have plans and policies to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport ahead of driving and subsided car parking. What’s your resolution for 2020?
If you are looking for inspiration, you’ll get plenty at the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival on Saturday 14 March at the Schonell Cinema. Tickets are now on sale. As well as showing the finalists in our Brisbane Bike Bites Short Film Competition, we’ll also be screening Motherload – an award-winning crowdsourced documentary about a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of the digital age, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote. This one was spotted collecting the family shopping at Morningside Junction this week:
2020 is a big year for local decision-making, with elections deciding our next Lord Mayor and Council representatives in March, and our next State Government in October. We’re going to be visiting and talking with as many candidates as we can before then, and encouraging everyone to have the conversation with your local potential representatives.
We’ve already started: on the weekend, Belinda and Labor candidate for Runcorn, John Prescott, explored some to the Runcorn Ward by bike. John hasn’t ridden since his days as a university student, but is keen to buy a bike for active commuting and local trips. We checked out some of the existing bikeways and local roads, and discussed opportunities for improving the network to enable more people to comfortably ride to the train and bus stations, sports facilities like the local pool, shopping precincts, and schools (including John’s alma mater, Runcorn State High School).
Runcorn Ward includes the suburbs of Kuraby, Runcorn, Sunnybank, Sunnybank Hills, plus the edges of Eight Mile Plains, Coopers Plains and Acacia Ridge. It should theoretically be good for cycling, being relatively flat and not too far from good public transport stations. But the main roads and intersections are quite hostile, and many of the paths and footpaths are crumbling and disconnected. We can see huge potential for improvement!
News from around the world
Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo’s Plan Velo has faced opposition from the oil and automotive industries, from disgruntled motorists and from Parisians weary of so much construction. But the results of constructing a city-wide bicycle network are already showing: bicycle use is up 54% in just one year, car trips are dropping, and more and more Parisians are enjoying the convenience of car-free living.
Oslo in Norway didn’t record a single pedestrian or cyclist death in 2019, and just a solitary road fatality. But it didn’t happen by chance. They achieved it by setting a goal to greatly reduce car use, by promoting alternatives. On street parking was replaced with bike lanes and footpaths, speed limits were reduced, and a congestion charge was added to discourage people driving into the city centre.
Making a liveable city where cars are less dominant makes for a safer city!