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. To increase women’s cycling participation, we must therefore target building confidence and providing women with real cycling experience. This equates to an adaption process of venturing to try the unfamiliar and building new habits. 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.
We live in a car culture. The fact that Canberra was built for cars is displayed in our public funding, road duplications, and many other cultural artefacts.
Reacting to climate change, giving up smoking, aids prevention, it is all the same really. We want people to change their behaviour to protect themselves. But habits, hard to change. Government messaging needs to be effective. Advertising dollars can be easily wasted. The discussion around COVID-19 advertising makes clear, what does and does not work. With driver behaviour a major factor in the safety of vulnerable road users, we must change the car culture so that drivers are protective of vulnerable road users.
In many countries, it is common to see police on bikes. They are the modern bobby on the street that inhabits the thriving central metropole. Food for thought….
Active travel means changing culture. You need to address cultural icons of which the strongest are a “rite of passage”. Traditionally in Australia, getting your drivers licence has been one of those rites.
This section outlines a two-pillar strategy to get the flywheel moving. Strategies are long term and this one is no exception. The first pillar involves changes to the planning system to permit cycling corridors to be reserved and preserved for the future construction of cycle highways. The second pillar is the culture change required for cycling to succeed in a deeply engrained car culture.
No matter what you might think – or tell yourself and others – you wear black, dark navy blue or dark grey and you will be very, very had to see! And, no, this is absolutely not about victim blaming! That would be much too easy. This is about many years of studying physiology, psychology, human factors, and neuropsychology.
It is not the cold that stops kids from riding to school but the lack of safe infrastructure. All parents are concerned about their children’s safety. In Finland, children will ride to school on snow in subzero all year round. Clearly, the cold does not hold them back. Without a separated bike path and swept bike paths, it would not happen.