Let us introduce you to Sally.
Sally lives in Elsternwick and works in the city. Sometimes she catches the train to work, sometimes she drives to escape the overcrowding. She doesn’t particularly enjoy her trip to work, and it’s expensive, too, setting her back $1500 a year. When asked why she doesn’t cycle there, she says she likes cycling for recreation, but doesn’t feel safe on the roads. She looks out the window on the way to work and sees cyclists riding alongside parked cars with doors opening in front of them, and fast cars cutting across bike lanes.
Ten years later, government’s with the vision to realise cycling’s potential – to reduce congestion, cut pollution, and make people happier and healthier – have built a city-wide network of safe bike lanes. Sally’s pretty happy with the changes. She can now ride the whole way to work in bike lanes that are physically separated from transport, including a great bike lane along St Kilda Road. Even where’s there’s no separation, speed limits are so low that she feels safe, and with more riders on the road now, drivers are more careful.
As a woman, Sally’s in one of cycling’s underrepresented population groups, along with children, adolescents, older adults, and migrants. Sally’s also in the ‘interested but concerned’ category, one of four cyclist types identified in a City of Portland study as being most potential cyclists (60% of all people). ‘Interested but concerned’ people want to ride more, but don’t feel safe near fast moving traffic, even with bike lanes. They would ride if there were fewer and slower cars, or safe, stressless bike lanes without cars in them.
Everyone knows someone like Sally: they are our friends and family, and we want them to come with us on our rides. That’s why the Get Pushy campaign is asking for safe bike lanes and lower speed limits: not just to protect existing cyclists, but to get more people riding, with more cyclists on the roads meaning more fun and safety for us all.
In a real cycling city, you don’t have to be brave to ride a bike.