Why wait until the driver’s licence? We can teach children safe cycling in school. In the Netherlands, the school children take a traffic exam on their bikes when they are just 11 years old. With a rite of passage on bicycles, are we surprised that the Netherlands is a cycling nation. The nature of a rite of passage is there is something to celebrate!
We must recognise that in low cycling countries our fears have a large impact on our cycling behaviour and our instincts (feelings) are poorly tuned to the real risk of cycling. A positive experience (enjoyment) makes it more likely that we will cycle again. A mishap in the early stages will discourage further cycling. This is why good cycle infrastructure makes a difference, as it creates a forgiving environment to cycle.
The Submission by the ACT Young Planners Committee of the Planning Institute of Australia to the Moving Canberra: Integrated Transport Strategy 2019-2045 provide a number of case studies, one of which, is the power of nudge and behavioural economics (behavioural insights).
Paralysis through analysis: the ideas that progress can be halted by yet another study. ACT Transport knows what it needs to do for cycling with over a dozen studies since 2004, but never gets around to making the improvements. The recommendations are all too often never implemented. Take for example, the proposed Civic and Dickson bike path through Haig Park, which has been discussed for over a decade. Here is the history of cycling transport studies.
The general desired to encourage people to cycle to work is hampered by the lack of end-of-trip facilities. End-of-trip facilities is more than bike parking, but rather a package of infrastructure that make the workplace attractive for cycling. That end-of-trip facilities will not be built or added to a commercial building unless mandated. With this in mind, the ACT Government has introduced Territory Plan Variation 357.
Human-scale accessibility is about building cities, so that we can get around them easily by walking, with a wheelchair, or a walking frame. Everybody should be able to do it, young or old. It does not involve a lot of expenses, acquiring a driver’s licence, or wealth to afford a car. Human-scale accessibility is the expression of mobility as a human right. Cycling is a good example of Human-scale accessibility with a long history. Micromobility adds many new ways for people to get around, including skateboards, e-scooters, and hoverboards. Streets need to be built in a way that make them safe for human-scale accessibility.
In the era of climate change, one would expect less people to own an environmentally damaging car – but nothing can be further from the truth. The latest ABS survey from 2021 shows that car ownership in Canberra has increased in the last year by 2.3%, equal highest of all Australian states.
We are creatures of habit. The book The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz that we develop rules of thumb to lighten the cognitive load of making decisions. Habits, too, lighten the cognitive load, as they provide the reassurance that the way we have always thought about doing things is somehow the best.
Canberra.bikes` submission for the Standing Committee on Planning, Transport and City Services. Making Canberra a city where we can cycle safely and easily, at any time, from 8-80 years. Here is the table of contents with links to the text.
A useful list of references for active travel and cycling in the ACT from the Submission to the Standing Committee.