Monday, February 8, 2010

Une bicycliste à Genève

Tomorrow we leave Genève for Paris, and we plan to participate in the chic bicycle share programme, "Velibe" - bien sûr, we are going to do Paris en bicyclettes!!!!

Notwithstanding our six weeks in Europe, living and breathing bicycles every day, we still cannot cease wondering why Australia lamely allowed notions of bicycles to be hi-jacked, leaving the nation bereft of so many life options for close on two decades.

Soon we will have to exchange our current 'European cycling heaven' for the 'pumpkin reality' of Australia'! - and once more we ask ourselves, why is Australia so satisfied with our regressive state of affairs & when is our nation going to consider our requests for civil liberties and climate justice?


  1. Have been thinking a lot about cycling lately given I've recently moved from a house in an inner city suburb of Canberra into an apartment in the city itself and was thinking that cycling was the way to go from now on.

    I think that cycling really has, since helmets were introduced, become a sport in Australia and not merely a way of getting from A to B. People "go for a ride" rather than "I'm just popping out to get some bread and milk" or whatever. It really is not convenient to carry a helmet around the shops with you, not to mention the hat hair, which is probably the dominant reason I stopped cycling in the first place (vain but true). So people have learned to jump in their cars, for even short distances.

    I notice with dismay, that even when the need for increasing cycling is put on the agenda, the reports/images used are invariably pictures of the lycra clad. I think I read in the paper the other day that cyclists were being encouraged to get back into it in Canberra, but they should remember to wear high vis clothing! There is also so much talk about the need for showers etc to be provided for cyclists, but I really do dispute that such infrastructure will be required. The assumption is that everyone who ever wishes to cycle will be doing it as a cardio workout, rather than as a non sweat inducing, convenient means of transportation, in normal clothing. The whole notion of cycling as just getting around for the majority of people, and a sport for a minority of people, seems to have disappeared from the Australian psyche.

    Sue, the PM repeatedly said on Q&A last night that he's into "evidence-based policy" so you should continue to hit him up with the ample evidence you have that demonstrates how riding numbers have dropped off, thereby creating a more dangerous cycling environment for all (the vicious cycle you've already documented). I think I agree with one earlier comment that I personally think you shouldn't rely on the "helmet being dangerous for you" argument and instead focus on how the helmet really has taken spontaneity out of cycling in Australia and reduced it to a "sport" or "hobby" rather than an efficient way of getting around for short distances. Many people will continue to wear helmets, but perhaps the police could trial turning a blind eye to helmet violations, much like they did with the needle exchange programs in the 80s when they were desperate to prevent HIV, and see if cycling numbers increase. Ugh, I don't know, but I fear that I'm becoming rather single issue at the moment too.

    Good luck!

  2. hey LSS!! thanks so much for your comments and your support - really great to read - i'll keep you posted how i go in the district court later on today!!!