The problem – in many towns and cities – is that we don’t have the right infrastructure in the right places to support walking and cycling. Providing the wrong infrastructure means that people drive their cars and that creates traffic congestion.
We are all responsible for everything. And ‘all’ means each of us.
You don’t have to be a Mayor, MP or City Leader to be part of creating an walking and cycling infrastructure revolution. Everyone can get involved. My friend Inke works in Hollywood. In the movies, every last and final detail is researched to the last degree – no rock is left unturned. Everything that can be researched is researched. We need to start operating like Hollywood. Here’s 3 ways we can do this.
1. Let’s collect data on how much money people on bicycles spend
Imagine the next time you’re in a cafe with your bicycle mates that you tot up how much you collectively spend. Imagine your local cafe tweeting, “30 people on bicycles just spent $600 on coffee and brekkie before 7 am”. I reckon that would get more traders’ support for bike lanes. Research by Alison Lee in Lygon Street, Melbourne showed that each square metre allocated to bike parking generates $31 per hour, compared to $6 generated for each square metre used for car parking.
2. Let’s ask traders to collect data on how many people arrive by bicycle
Imagine if your local shops converted one unused button on their cash register to record the number of people arriving by bicycle. Imagine the greengrocer, newsagent and cafe all recording hundreds of people arriving by bike. I reckon that might support the business case for more cycle infrastructure and bike parking in local shopping areas. I worked with tourist attractions in the UK. We calculated the number of people arriving by boat, bus and bike. We used their continuous data collection to get funding for new infrastructure, things like new bus stops and bicycle parking.
3. Let’s ask people where we live about their bicycles
Imagine if we all did a bicycle census in our own suburb or street. The 2012 Australian Local Government cycling participation survey told us that just over half of all households had access to a working bicycle. Imagine if we asked people in the street where we live about their bikes and if their bikes are in good working order. I reckon together we could start to more accurately calculate the actual latent demand for bicycling in each suburb. I worked with schools in Cornwall to set up a system to collect journey to and from school data each and every month. The five-minute process meant that schools had real data for numeracy projects and council had hard evidence to justify new footpaths and bikeways.
What do you think?
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