Next time I go to Canberra I’m taking a camera over my shoulder and will be sharing paparazzi shots with you all. Residential districts have plenty of kids going places on bikes. A good 10 or 20 percent of people aren’t bothered with helmets and the ACT police don’t seem too bothered either. There is a wonderful array of posh commuter bikes. Bike racks are all filled around places of entertainment, a healthy sign that people are riding home drunk.
We all know the lake, waterways and over generous parks there have off-road bike trails. But did you know Canberra’s CBD now has protected bike lanes? Proper ones, on both sides of the street and with curb separation and priority given to cyclists over cars at most intersections.
John Armstrong from Pedal Power tells me there are neighbourhoods where 20% of work trips are by bike. As to the city’s overall mode share being less than 3%, that’s more a factor of sprawl than any dearth of bike infrastructure. One of the most telling statistics is that most cyclists presenting to hospital in Canberra after sconning their noggins did that with no help from car drivers. How could they have, when most of their riding is done on cycleways set away from the road!
If Australia ever hosts Velo City again, it would be far less of an embarrassment for us all if we held it in Canberra.