With political leadership, we can move forward. In some countries, this has been a mayor who cycles. We need an Active Travel Commissioner to muster the necessary momentum. Currently, that is not likely but we can look to the budget, that is only weeks way, for good news.
Active travel faces many barriers. One is our perceptions of a safety, or fear. As a society, we seem to be getting more fearful. Our perceptions of safety are important. Psychology and neuroscience has come a long way to explaining our nature. The availability cascade is a contributing factor in our perception of risk.
Political philosophy: how can be Government justify taking a stance in the interest of good of the people. The status quo is not ethically the best position. When the government has ample evidence that the status quo is harmful and threatens society in the long term, how can it justify change. Political leadership is just that. The implications are true for cycling too, which requires political leadership to pull the switch.
A strong political wind would push cycling forward in Canberra. The lack of political will has left cycling in the doldrums. ACT Transport’s paradigm lags behind best practice. A “one size fits all” approach fails to recognise that different modes of transport have different needs.
80% of Australians care about climate action but it does not change their vote. We know from this climate change example that support is not enough. The way people vote is not only about what is important but also what is most important. What does this tell us about cycling in the ACT?
The lack of leadership in Canberra has been an ongoing woe. The UK has demonstrated one approach to fixing this.
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.
Climate change and active travel are so l’année dernière. This year we have fires, smoke, hailstones, and a global pandemic. In between all of that we lost active travel somewhere and somehow. The UK, however, did not!
It is not just about more cycling infrastructure but the recognition that it must be done better. The ACT and the Federal Government should take note. Paris, Ireland, and now the UK show that good cycling infrastructure requires leadership.