Déjà vu: leadership void bars cycling

Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris

Without leadership, cycling will flounder, but with it, can flourish. The absence of leadership is an open wound. Government leadership is essential for cycling. The recent call for more leadership echos from the aftermath of the 2016 ACT Election. Andrew Barr, Chief Minister: then and now.

Many are excited by Canberra’s potential for cycling but the ACT Government has been slow to see the light. This is nothing new. Anne Treasure wrote about this in Leaders around the world trumpet the benefits of bike riding (The RiotACT, 4 February 2017).

Leaders around the world trumpet the benefits of bike riding, The RiotACT, 4 February 2017

“Since his re-election last year (2016), ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has pledged $30 million to fixing Canberra’s bike infrastructure, and made a New Year’s resolution to ride more.

His government’s financial commitments have made it clear that bike-riding is important to the ACT, and Barr is putting his bike where his money is – posting photos and videos to social media of himself riding around Canberra.”

“But words can be as important as actions, particularly when your words set the agenda for a government and a city – and the Chief Minister has yet to make a strong statement regarding a vision for bike-riding in the ACT.

Leaders around the world have made a point of declaring their commitment to promote bike-riding in their cities. Many have pointed to the range of benefits active travel brings to a city, including a healthier population and friendlier streets.”

Leaders around the world trumpet the benefits of bike riding, The RiotACT, 4 February 2017

Leaders in Sydney and Melbourne have supported cycling, both Mayor Clover Moore and Mayor Robert Doyle. Boris Johnson has backed a cycling boom in the UK. Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed cycling in Chicago. Eamon Ryan, leader of Ireland’s Green Party, a former co-owner of the Belfield Bike Shop in Dublin, is a cycling advocate. Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, is making Paris bicycle friendly.

2020 has seen worldwide great gains in cycling. The ACT is out of step.

“Here’s hoping that the ACT Chief Minister takes inspiration from the leaders of great cities around the world and makes it clear that Canberra wants to lead the way for bike-riding in Australia – for the benefit of all Canberrans.”

Leaders around the world trumpet the benefits of bike riding, The RiotACT, 4 February 2017
The two Mayors (Boris Johnson and Roger Gifford), London, UK
The two Mayors (Boris Johnson and Roger Gifford), London, UK

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