There is swathe of land from Holland to Sweden, where cycling is understood. Everywhere else, it is forgotten, and pushed to the margins. Homosexuals know how that feels, so they've learned to carve out residual space for themselves in many cities. Aaron Betsky wrote a book called Queer-Space, that describes an invisible layer in every big city, that you probably can't see, if you're not queer.
I've just written a book called Cycle-Space—at present with editors—that talks about the growth of cycling in similar terms. Today I'm at the 4th International Urban Design Conference, delivering a paper that grows out of that book. Here
are the notes I'll refer to. The same ideas will appear in the refereed proceedings of the conference, a few weeks from now, with the usual attention to referencing etc.—though without the poetic licence I'm taking in my mode of delivery here at this conference. I'll provide a link to that paper when it is published.
For now, I want to make the point that the planning community in Australia/New-Zealand, does not understand cycling. Question time after one paper yesterday, turned into a brainstorming session, concerning creative new ways to screen multi level car parking stations. Only one person piped up and said, "Parking stations? Whose building car parking stations?" The crowd shut him up, and went back to saying they can be screened with unliveable units—yes, open your windows, and breathe in those fumes!
I doubt anyone at this conference would see it as a positive thing that the shared bicycle path here at Surfer's Paradise, where this conference is being held, is used for regular night markets. That pushes cyclists onto the road, where we know only 2 or 3 percent of the population feels comfortable, riding a bike. A good third of the population would happily use bikes for commuting, if they had spaces, like that promenade, made available to them. I'm talking about one or two hundred thousand people, living here on the Gold Coast, who would be cycling more, if cycling was not overlooked. They own working bikes, that they can't use, without being subjected to ridiculous dangers and inconveniences at every turn.
In Australia, I calculated, those bikes gathering cobwebs, are worth $5.5 billion dollars. That's a healthy, green, transit asset, going to waste. Anyone at this conference, who can't see a problem with a night market blocking a bike path, needs to wake up. Ten years from now, I'm sure they will have come out of this coma they're in. That's why I'm going to present this paper in a somewhat fanciful way, as though we've just woken up in a plausible future.