Have your say: Survey on Australian Bike Riding Conditions

This post was going to be on the Melbourne Bike Rave 2018 I had the delight of participating in last weekend while I was down for the SLF. However,  I am putting this quick post in as it is time sensitive. Bicycle Network is surveying Australian riders and cyclists to gauge what people feel about the current Australian cycling conditions. The survey ends in a couple of days, so I thought I would put up this quick post with the link to the survey, so if you have not already included your voice, here is your last chance to do so! We’ll get back to the Bike Rave in the next post! See you then. NG


Have your say: Survey on Australian Bike Riding Conditions. Bicycles Create Change.com 16th Feb 2018
Image: Bicycle Network

In September 2017, Bicycle Network conducted a national survey about people’s views on Mandatory Helmet Laws.

The Nov results of that survey indicated a few surprising results and also stimulated some very interesting discussion, counter-arguments critique within the cycling fraternity.

Bicycle Network often undertakes surveys – not just of its members, but for all cyclists and riders.

Given that Bicycle Network is Australia’s largest bicycle advocacy group, and has over 50,000 members, the organisation likes to keep abreast of current cycling issues and help to push for more positive riding change for all cyclists – hence the survey!

Are Australian riding conditions better?

Do you think the cycling conditions have changed? What about over the last year? Five years?

Bike riding conditions in Australia are always changing, and it is interesting to see if bike riders notice any differences.

What changes have you noticed?

Do you think things getting better for bike riders?

What needs to be done?

Add your ideas and experience to the survey below and let’s see what kind of changes you have seen on the bike.

TAKE THE SURVEY HERE

The survey closes Monday 19 February.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks

I’ve been working on the Bio Bike Project for the last couple of weeks. The Eco T(h)anks is the first of two models that will share a similar frame, but have a different (modular) top that is interchangeable depending on the event. The second variation is Your Future Thanks You, which has a UFO-style top (see next post). Given the sustainable focus of the upcoming SLF, where this project will perform, it looks increasing like we will use the Your Future Thanks You model for this weekend. However, the Eco T(h)anks was the first to be constructed as a prototype. So this post outlines the frame and how the top section of the Eco T(h)anks was made. Enjoy! NG.

See our Instagram for more Eco T(h)anks construction stage photos.


Constructing the Eco T(h)anks

The previous post explained the conceptual background and aims of this Bio Bike model, the next step was to turn these plans into reality.

Stage 1 was undertaken in Coolie’s fabrications workshop in northern NSW (Cheers Coolie!) and subsequent stages completed in my backyard in Brisvegas (Brisbane). Claire did a great job of spray painting, attaching the turret and decorating the outside.

There is still a bit more to do to complete this piece. It is great to have all the main hard work out of the way and get a better sense of what the final structure could looks and feel like. And now, only the fun bits are left to do!

Here’s how it came together…

Stage 1: The Frame

The first stage was to use a general purpose bike to get a sense of dimensions and scale. Then we cut a pattern for the side panels out of 5mm white corflute. This was double layered in alternating directions and the central seam was designed to interlock on the inside to help with rigidity.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two sizes of recycled PVC piping we cut to make the square frame. This frame is what the side panels will had from.

My main concern here was to make the sides easy to flatpack down (for transport in a bike bag) and easy to assemble.

Of course weight, balance and manoeuvrability were key issues.

I didn’t want to the structure to be over-engineered or overly complicated to make. I had limited time, money and access the to workshop – so this meant being productive and innovative to get an outcome with the resources at hand.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

As well as fashioning four custom-made hangers to attach and support the side panels, zip ties and gaffer tape were the order of the day to attach the base to the bike.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

It was important to intermittently take the bike for a test run to be sure that it was still functional as a bicycle as well as relatively easy to use re: turning, overall weight, balance, getting on and off, safety, bump in/out transportability, and the like.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last task was to make the turret and the barrel.

The front piece of the turret needed to be made of a stronger metal/resin material so that it could hold the weight of the barrel.

The barrel was carefully measured so that it did not go out too far (for safety and weight reasons), but far enough so the effect ‘barrel’ was achieved

The next challenge was how to attach this to the handle bars.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 2: Eco T(h)ank base structure

Then it was time to head back home to Brisvegas for assemblage.

First step was to reconstitute the frame and the get the front of the turret on the handlebars – this took a little ingenuity. Claire ended up using a wire frame (used in fridges for wine bottles) and attached that to the back so there were points to lash zip ties to the bike – it worked a treat!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was time to use 2mm black corflute to wrap around the side panels to simulate tracks (this effect will be developed further at a later stage) and to enclose the front and back of bike, whilst being mindful of how we get on and off the bike.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

A few well placed large cogs of bike cassettes were screwed on meant overlay points were more rigid, helped with stabilising the structure and added a strong recycled aesthetic – which I thought worked really well.

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the final basic structure is complete!!!

The wheels turn freely and I can ride the bike unhindered.

The structure is light and versatile enough to be transferred to any kind of bike frame.

It still needs some decorations and external work done, but I’m very happy with the base structure!

Overall it took 3 days to make.

Thanks so much to Coolie, TK and Claire for their direct input, time, ideas and labour!

Constructing the Eco T(h)anks - Bicycles Create Change.com 5th Feb, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed doing this project as I got to use materials and tools that I have not used before. This was one of the main reasons for undertaking their project – to develop my technical skills and be a little bolder in what I envision and can produce – and I am delighted with the result!

The next post will show how we modified this base with a different (modular) top to make the Bio Bike Model 2:  Your Future Thanks You.

See our Instagram for more Eco T(h)anks construction stage photos.

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

Hey, bike nuts! Welcome back!

The last week has been super crazy getting ready, because…

A while back, my regular creative collaborator and friend Claire Tracey and I put together a roving performance idea and application for the upcoming 2018 Sustainable and Living Festival (SLF)- and we got the news it was successful!

Sustainable Living Festival – Bio Bike ACCEPTED

The Festival’s Program Coordinator Big Weekend emailed:

Thank you for your Festival application. We are pleased to inform you that your event application has been accepted!  The team at the Sustainable Living Festival are delighted to have your event as part of our program.

Woohoo!!

So, we are heading to Melbourne to perform the Bio Bike at the 2018 SLF!

Previous SLF adventures – Leki & the Ova

The phenomenal Claire Tracey and I have previously collaborated for the 2014 SLF, where we created the roving performance/art bike Leki & the Ova.

This project used Leki as the basis for a pedal-powered no-money/barter/trade/swap, mobile op shop. It was sooooo much fun!

Leki and the Ova will be very familiar to regular BCC readers, given it is immortalised as the central feature image for the Bicycles Create Change homepage.

We roved the Festival and went out twice a day. We had a brilliant time and were a roaring success – the punters loved being part of it … and so did we!

Projects - Bicycles Create Change.com

 

It was a wicked project to make and present – and Claire and I knew we worked well together and have since joined forces on a number of ventures.

So we threw our hat into the ring for this year with our concept of the Bio Bike … and hey presto! We’re in!

So, no time to waste – we have to get organised!

But first a bit of background.

What is the SLF Big Weekend?

In it’s own words, the Festival’s signature Big Weekend event will be staged between the 9th and 11th of February. Held in the cultural hub of Federation Square and Birrarung Marr, the Festival’s Big Weekend showcases the main attractions of the Festival’s calendar.

Featuring interactive workshops, talks, technology demonstrations, art, film and live performance pieces (of which our roving Bio Bike performance will feature! NG).

One of the main attractions of the Big Weekend is the Exhibitors Market featuring over 100 exhibitors, including vendors showcasing the very best of organic food, beer and wine. Ethically-sourced clothing, sustainable building designs and gardening options will also be on show.

Treadlie and Green Magazine will be back to host the always popular Treadlie Bike Hub, with bikes, accessories and even a test track to help you make the switch from horsepower to human-power.

Click here for a sneak peek at the SLF guide highlights.

Our Bio Bike Project Aim and Overview

As an arts collective, we aim to educate, encourage and empower participants to seriously think about their ability to affect positive environmental change.

Our event is focused on raising awareness about the necessity of transitioning to a ‘below zero emissions’ society and examines creative solutions to creating this widespread societal change as soon as possible.

The Bio Bikes roving performance uses positive reinforcement and humour to create public awareness about climate change and encourages viewers to participate in the performance by interacting with the sculptural bikes when they are stationary. 

Next steps…

So, it has been action stations to get the foundations organised and prepped for the Bio Bike. We already have a clear conceptual plan of what we want the performance to entail, but it is the props and bike itself that requires time, skills, materials and construction. With the Festival fast approaching, the making of the Bio Bike is a top priority.

So, I’ve been away for the last 5 days visiting a dear long-time friend, called Coolie, in northern NSW. (No internet there, hence the delay in uploading this post- sorry!). Coolie’s technical expertise, insight and fabrication workshop was invaluable in constructing a Bio Bike prototype which will be a major part of our roving performance.

The next couple of posts will be tracking our project development as we refine and work on the Bio Bike, props, costumes and production.

Stay tuned to see how it unfolds – and if you are in Melbourne, we’ll be seeing you at the Sustainable Living Festival in a couple of weeks!

Sustainable Living Festival - Bio Bike ACCEPTED. Bicycles Create Change.com 28th Jan 2018
Image: SLF 2018

Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018

Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 12th Jan, 2018.
Image: Space for Cycling Brisbane.

I’m looking forward to March this year because that is when the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018 is on- Hazah!

I can’t wait!

In June, I posted about some other Australian and international Bike Film Festivals that were happening.

So the Brisbane Bike Film Festival is fast approaching, which means for those who are brave enough, NOW is the time to get cracking and put together an entry!

Click here for more info and background on the Brisbane Bike Film Festival.

This festival aims to bring together all the different codes and cycling communities,  as well as other would-be riders, supporters, interested parties and other two-wheeled enthusiasts.

These films are a great way to experience other cycling perspectives, celebrate rides, riders and adventures, share the love and freedom of bikes … and contribute to promoting and participating in the thrills, spills and skills of all things cycling!

Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival 2018. Bicycles Create Change.com 12th Jan, 2018.
Image: Bicycle Film Festival 2012.

What do I need to know to submit an entry?

Each film is judged on the criteria of creativity, cinematography, entertainment and overall ‘bikeiness’.

Once all entries are submitted, the finalists are shown for one night only at the Brisbane Bicycle Film Festival, where the winners and People’s Choice Award are also announced.

Entries are open to any Brisbane bicycle riders. The idea is for local riders to grab a camera and film a bike-related video of something bike-related happening in or around Brisbane.

To submit a film – the official requirements are:

  • Films should be no more than 5 minutes long
  • Quicktime Format  MP4 or.mov files
  • 1920×1080 frame dimensions preferred. (Definitely not below 720×480) Larger is fine.
  • Upload your movie to Vimeo and password protect your film. Include the link to your film on your submission form along with the password.
  • The actual final formatted file might be required, in which case you will be notified.
So grab a camera and your bike and get busy –  submission close 12th Feb.
Tickets are $19ish and are now available through Eventbrite.
You can get more info and updates via the Facebook Event page.

Last year,  Guy Marron’s Global Gutz (see below) took out the top prize.

So best of luck for putting together your submissions – see you there!

Happy New Gear 2018!

Happy New Gear and Happy New Year…Bike Lovers!

Out with 2017 – and in with 2018!

Farewell to 2017 and goodbye 200th year anniversary of the invention of the modern bicycle.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2018 is Year of the Dog with the associated element being Earth and lucky colours blue, black and green… which is surely good enough reasons for a new cycling kit!

Happy New Gear 2018 = Year of the awesome rides!

It is great to see how enthusiastic cyclists are welcoming in the new year.

There are many ways to celebrate the cycling, international and cultural events coming up in 2018.

I started getting excited when I saw a few of the examples (below) of how our talented and passionate cycling community are celebrating 2018.

Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: Fotolia
Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: Pintrest
Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: Rachlink (Etsy)
Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: The Olympic Tavern
Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: San Jose Bike Party
Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: Patrika
Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: EU Cycling Group
Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018
Source: Olympic Corp

 

 

 

So what’s on in 2018?

Not yet fully enthused about 2018? Let me whet your whistle…..

For the cyclists – get online and see what events, competitions, festivals and meets are on in your area. Of course your first stop for events will always your favorsite cycling website, magazine, news, Facebook, mates or cycling group.

Evenso, some riders still like to see what’s on offer Australia-wide events via sites like Cycling Australia’s calendar, while other go more local (which for me is Brisvegas) such as the Bicycle Queensland 2018 Calendar. 

International events – there are so many local and international days of significance in the 2018 calendar – and there are some awesome dates to look forward to, like some of th worldwide holidays and special dates below, like:

Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018

 

For some other global ‘Day of the …’ events that will blow your mates away, check out the massive range of UN International Days -which includes heaps of historical and commemorative dates (too many to list here), as well as many others, such as May 2nd (World Tuna Day), 13th June (International Albinism Awareness Day) or November 19th (World Toilet Day).

Or, for something a little more multicultural for the Aussies- here is Griffith University’s Cultural Diversity Calendar (see below), so you won’t miss any important dates.

Happy New Gear 2018. Bicycles Create Change - 2nd Jan 2018

 

 

 

So much to see and do in 2018- and so many great rides to experience!

However you chose to celebrate 2018 – I hope this year is filled with fun, challenges, excitement, change ….. and lots of awesome cycling!

Where to get awesome bike t-shirts

 Bike t-shirts have been on my mind lately. I’ve been seeing more and more of them around. So, the next couple of posts will be exploring bike t-shirts. To get us started, this first post is looking at where to find unique bike-inspired-t-shirts.

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome
Source: Bisikleta

Where to get awesome bike t-shirts

How many bike t-shirts do you have?

Cycling t-shirts are a quick and easy way to identify yourself, and others, as a lover of all things two-wheeled.

Some people wear them to promote their particular cycling code (road riding, MTBing, BMX etc) or their favourite era of riding (1970s, 1980s, Klunketz) or their favourite rider (Eddie Mercx, Kelly McGazza), favourite bike shop, or bike brand (Campagnolo, Rapha, Castelli, Specialized).

Others have commemorative bike t-shirts of special places they have ridden, special bike races (Tour de France) or events they themselves have participated in – like the t-shirts you find included in event registration packs.

Some riders are part of a team that produce their own t-shirts, others like new bike t-shirts, or one-off, limited editions, others inherit, swap, find them in op-shop and few even design their own.

Over the years I have scoured op-shops, been given bike t-shirts as gifts or won them as prizes.

Regardless of where you source your bike t-shirts, it is a clear signifier of your cycling passion, identity and community.

There are some very cool designs floating around – the more unique the better!

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Design: @ilovedoodle

Not all bike t-shirts are created equally

I’ve always got my eye out for bike t-shirts when I am out and about. I especially like the unique and funky designs.

Bike t-shirts with crappy graphics, cheezy memes or that are heavily branded are by far my least favourite.

Like many other cyclists, I wear bike t-shirts a lot.

It is a great ice-breaker when out and about, as strangers who are cyclists will often strike up a conversation knowing that you have something in common.

I’ve had some lovely random conversations and met some wonderful people that I would not have otherwise had a chat to if one of us had not been wearing a bike-shirt.

Conversely, I always make an effort to acknowledge other people who wear bike t-shirts.

So, where do you get your funky bike t-shirts from?

If you are looking for some new ideas – here are my top 4 online places to get some funky bike t-shirts.

Top online awesome bike t-shirts sources

1. Cycology

2. Etsy

3. Redbubble 

4. Threadless

5. Spreadshirt

Or use Instagram and check out your favourite hashtags like #cyclingtshirt to see else is out there.

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Source: Rouler The Tom
Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Design. Kneil Melican

 

Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Source: Endo: Wearendo the Yellow Giant Tricycle
Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Source: Bilenky Cycle Works – Born to Sweat
Bicycles Create Change.com -16th Dec. Where to get awesome bike t-shirts
Design: BurnTheBeans

So, you cool cycling cats..Happy shopping!

And be sure to say hi to the next person you see wearing a bike t-shirt!

Forbidden women riding bikes in Iran

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th.Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: cyclists_boj

Forbidden women riding bikes in Iran

In September 2016, the supreme leader of Iran Ali Khamenei, issued a fatwa (which is a legal ruling issued by an Islamic religious leader) that prohibits women from riding a bike in a public place.

Mr Khamenei explained via the state media, that the fatwa was issued because “riding a bicycle often attracts the attention of men and exposes the society to corruption, and thus contravenes women’s chastity, and it must be abandoned.”

As recent as November 28th, 2017, national public radio reminded all of Iran of Khamenei’s fatwa that prohibits women from riding a bike in public as they are ‘exposed to unknown people’.

Despite this, women in Iran are uploading videos of themselves riding their bikes in defiance of the fatwa that bans female cycling for “contravening women’s chastity”.

Since then, a number of women and groups of riders are refusing to adhere – and more so,  are encouraging others to take a stand too.

This movement has been covered over the last year by a small number of online and social media as well as through news outlets such as:

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: versionvintage

 

1 My Stealthy Freedom

My Stealthy Freedom is a online movement that was started in 2014 by the activist/journalist Masih Alinejad. It is an online movement that began by sharing images of women wihtout their scarves, and has since evolved to draw international attention to a range of Iranian women’s rights and issues.

Such as not being allowed to ride a bike.

My Stealthy Freedom has been availtly promoting and sharing images of female bike riders on various social media outlets – many of which are shared using #Iranianwomenlovecycling.

2 #Iranianwomenlovecycling

This social media hashtag is used on Instagram and Twitter as a forum to publicly defy the fatwa, raise awareness and as an unregulated avenue for local female riders to show their love of riding.

Talk about locally-driven social and gender activism!

It is very inspiring to see this kind of movement – and being supported so many cyclists (and others) overseas who understand and value the importance of bike riding for all.

It is also great to see that bicycles really are universally loved.

It also makes me very humble to be living and riding in Australia.

It begs the question: How is your bike riding contributing to making society a better place for all?

Happy riding!

Here’s a few pictures from Instagram’s #Iranianwomenlovecycling.

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: leyla.lotfy
Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: chs_internationalclub
Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran
Source: vahid.nasseri

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 11th. Women riding bikes in Iran

 

Counterview and Critique of Bicycle Network’s Helmet Survey Results

On Nov 21st, I posted the results of the Bicycle Network’s Helmet Law Survey. I was delighted this week to see some topical debate about the results taking place amongst the wider Australian cycling community.  I was most impressed by the active, critical engagement and points raised by the Freestyle Cyclist Editor, who yesterday posted a very interesting commentary about the Bicycle Network itself and it’s handling of the Helmet Law Survey. If you haven’t see it yet, here it is. Always good to hear differing points of view and advocates pushing for more thoughtful approaches of key issues for further positive action! You can add your voice to the Helmet Law Reform here. Enjoy, NG.


Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 6th, 2017- Counterview of Bicycle Network's Helmet Survey Results

Will Australia’s largest bike riding organisation be influenced by the majority of submitted participation/injury evidence and surveyed public opinion when it decides over the next few months whether to continue supporting Australia’s mandatory bicycle helmet laws?

The Bicycle Network has published the results of its open survey during August and September on public and membership opinion of the helmet laws.
  • The survey was completed by 19,327 respondents
  • Respondents were mostly Bicycle Network members and people who ride bikes with varying regularity.
  • 2.6% of respondents were from overseas, and 1.9% of respondents said they never ride a bike.
  • 58.3% of respondents said there should be a change to helmet laws, while the remaining 41.7% said helmets should be mandatory all the time
  • 40.7% believe helmets should only be mandatory when the risk is high, for example, when racing, on road or for young people
  • 30.4% would ride more if helmets weren’t mandatory
  • If laws changed, almost all people who currently wear a helmet when they ride would continue to do so and the number of people who never wear a helmet when riding would only increase by 3.7%
  • As expressed by the Bicycle Network’s media releaseA survey of almost 20,000 people has found that nearly two-thirds don’t believe you should have to wear a helmet every time you ride a bike in Australia.
Which sounds similar to what Freestyle Cyclists has been saying for the past decade.
 
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richard says the network will use the membership and public responses when evaluating its position on helmets, along with literature and expert opinions, with a decision expected in April 2018. “It’s great to get such a large amount of public opinion about bike helmets. It’s something people are clearly passionate about and it’s helpful to see how Australia’s helmet laws may impact people’s decision to ride,” said Mr Richards. “The opinion of our members and people who ride bikes is important and will help inform our policy on Australia’s mandatory helmet law. Along with academic research and information from experts, we will be able to make a fully informed decision.”
 
The Bicycle Network has about 50,000 members. Its influence could force media and political consideration of the helmet law issue if its policy review objectively considers the mountain of evidence proving Australia’s helmet law failure and if it does the right thing in April by recommending repeal.
 
A majority of Bicycle Network members are lycra cyclists who always wear helmets and it is interesting that 38.9% wanted some form of repeal in their survey responses. Among the network members, 70.4% would continue to wear a helmet every time they ride.
 
Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 6th, 2017- Counterview of Bicycle Network's Helmet Survey Results
 
Among all respondents to the Bicycle Network survey, 17.6% believed that bicycle helmets should never be mandatory, in line with the Freestyle Cyclists opinion that they should be voluntary among all ages. Only 1.9% of survey respondents said they never ride a bike and 30.4% of all respondents said they would cycle more if helmets weren’t mandatory.
 
Of course, the survey wasn’t measuring the hundreds of thousands of people who would actually ride a bike in the first place if not threatened with police punishment for cycling without a helmet.
 
The public health and traffic safety benefits would be enormous with both more cyclists and a 30% increase in current cycling duration. All the newly participating riders would otherwise probably be driving a car and the hospital data suggests fewer cyclists will be crashing and injuring some part of their body. 
 
The Bicycle Network is under pressure from many within its own membership, from Australia’s pro-law academia and from the media to make no change to its long-standing position of support for mandatory bike helmet laws. Most mainstream media such as in Western Australia continue to ignore any reference to the Bicycle Network’s helmet policy review, let alone the survey results. 
 
The few media outlets that have published stories online or in press about the survey results have highlighted the medical community’s opposition and/or quoted one of the many helmeted cyclists who so frequently crash and are convinced it has saved their life.
 

It’s likely that well over 99% of Australians are unaware of the review or survey, adding weight to the 19,327 who did know and let their majority helmet law opposition be known in the Bicycle Network survey.

Freestyle Cyclists urges the Bicycle Network to objectively evaluate the real world evidence of Australia’s mandatory helmet law failure and accept that its own pro-repeal survey results support the mountain of submitted evidence that the laws discourage a huge number of people from riding a bike, and with highly questionable injury results.

Readers are urged to read the expert opinions linked at the bottom of the Bicycle Network’s policy review page.

All 32 opinions are worth reading but we recommend those submitted by Freestyle Cyclists, Professor Chris Rissel,  and researcher Chris Gillham.

Bicycles Create Change.com Dec 6th, 2017- Counterview of Bicycle Network's Helmet Survey Results

 This post was originally posted on Freestyle Cyclist (5th Dec, 2017) and the full text has been reprinted here as per the original. Text emphasis is my own. Images my own sources.

Bike-sharing fiascoes

This post come courtesy of Senior Lecturer in Transport at the University of Huddersfield.  This article is an extension to a previous bike sharing article he wrote last year. A lot has changed since then! Thanks for giving permission to share this article Alexandros!


Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Bike-sharing fiascoes

Bike-sharing schemes are a fast-growing transport trend, with almost 1,500 operating around the world today. To governments, they’re a novel tool to help ease the burden on public transport systems and reduce congestion in cities. To people, they’re an affordable and green way to get from A to B, without having to actually buy a bike.

Inspired by the principles of the “sharing economy”, bike-sharing schemes aim to make efficient use of resources by providing affordable, short-term access to bikes on an “as-needed” basis.

These schemes have been one of the most distinctive and user-friendly means of inspiring people to change their mode of travel, largely because they blend the sustainability of cycling with the speed and convenience of public transport.

But as striking photographs from China reveal, these bold principles don’t always play out in practice. To prevent thousands of bikes literally piling up in need of repair or retirement, cities and bike-sharing businesses need to swerve around a few obvious potholes.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

An uphill effort

Certain features can make cities hostile places for bike-sharing schemes; for example, overcomplicated planning procedures, strict cycling laws (such as compulsory helmet use) and political friction over giving up parking spaces to bike docks.

Inadequate infrastructure – such as limited bike lanes and unprotected cycle paths – together with traffic safety concerns, bad weather and hilly streets can also put off would-be cyclists. And if schemes suffer from poor promotion or sluggish expansion, the bikes can languish for lack of use.

Traditional bike-sharing schemes enable users to rent and return bikes at special hire stations, but they don’t provide a door-to-door service. So, for them to work, convenience is crucial. Schemes such as Seattle’s Pronto paid the price for having sparse and poorly placed docking stations, ceasing operations in 2017.

Over the last two years, Chinese bike-sharing start-ups such as Mobike and Ofo – funded by internet giants Alibaba and Tencent – have rushed to address this problem, by providing stationless smart bikes, which users can lock and unlock using a mobile app.

With lightning speed, hundreds of door-to-door bike-sharing schemes have spread across China, throughout other Asian countries and finally into Europe – the homeland of conventional public bicycle programmes. This new model has in theory the capacity to transform the world of cycle hire, just as Uber and Lyft have done for cabs.

Fatally flawed?

But amid the rush to embrace this new technology, there have already been a fair few fiascoes. China’s third-biggest bike-sharing company, Bluegogo, has run into financial trouble, despite having 20m users and £226m in deposits at its zenith. With so much competition in the market, there are too many bikes available at very low prices, with insufficient demand from consumers.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Of course, some of these mistakes are easily avoidable. Wukong Bicycle, a minor Chinese start-up which placed 1,200 bikes in the notoriously hilly Chinese city of Chongqing, went out of business after only six months in operation, with 90% of its bikes presumed missing or stolen. They made the fatal error of not installing GPS devices in their fleet.

Beijing-based bike-sharing firm 3Vbike also went bankrupt in June 2017, after losing more than 1,000 of its bikes in just four months. The scheme relied on location data from WeChat, rather than building its own app, making its tracking functions ineffective. Worse still, the owner had to purchase the bikes himself, for lack of other investors.

Manchester’s Mobike scheme – the first of its kind in the UK – is still going strong, despite facing teething issues during its first three months. Bikes were vandalised, dumped in canals and bins and stolen outright, leading the company’s spokesperson to suggest that the system has been “misundertood”. Bikes have since been taken in for repair, and will be redistributedacross a smaller area in the city centre. The oBike scheme in Australian cities faced similar problems.

Bike sharing fiascos - Bicycles Create Change.com

Survival guide

So, even with the right technology, dockless schemes are prone to misuse. If this new model of bike-sharing scheme is going to survive, operators will need to take note of these pitfalls, and adapt to the specific needs of their cities. Here are a few measures which can help to ensure the success of a bike-sharing scheme:

  • Stationless bikes might work where traditional bike-sharing schemes have failed, provided there is enough demand for these services. But free-floating bikes must have GPS systems attached – not doing so is a recipe for failure.
  • Fair fares, flexible membership options and ease of access all help to make schemes more user-friendly. And each scheme should have its own purpose-built app – no substitute is good enough.
  • Protection mechanisms and penalties for vandalism and theft should be in place from day one, to help minimise misuse. Market and education campaigns can be used to promote bike-sharing culture, and encourage people to take a positive attitude towards these bikes.
  • Too much competition within a city is a problem – an oversaturated bike-sharing market can be a fatal trap, especially for smaller schemes. Once they’ve assessed the market, operators need to make a city-specific plan for methodical and incremental growth. Rushing things through will lead to disaster.
  • City authorities should enthusiastically support bike-sharing and invest in cycling infrastructure to help schemes succeed; having a champion for the scheme, such as London’s former mayor Boris Johnson, guarantees long-term viability.
  • Very aggressive expansion can doom even the strongest dockless bike-sharing initiatives. Bike-sharing might not be an extremely profitable investment, so it’s important to manage investors’ expectations.

Bike-sharing is still, in many ways, a revelation and a positive addition for many cities which are battling the ill effects of car use. But at the same time it should be realised that not every city is destined to become a paradise for cyclists.


This is most recent article on bike sharing. He has written two previous articles for The Conversation about the (then) burgeoning global bike sharing expansion phenomena (Feb 2016) as well as how cars are killing us and what we can do to wean ourselves off them (from Sept 215). This article and all  images was originally published earlier this week on The Conversation website and then on subsequently on SBS

Helmet Law Survey Results

The results of the Bicycle Network Helmet Law Survey are in! Big ups to all those who responded to the survey online and via my blog post on September 19th.  A summary of the key findings are at the end of this post. Very interesting!


Helmet Law Survey Results - Bicycles Create Change.com

A survey of almost 20,000 people has found that nearly two-thirds don’t believe you should have to wear a helmet every time you ride a bike in Australia.

It also found that if current mandatory helmet laws change to allow Australians to ride a bike without wearing a helmet, more than 30% of people would ride a bike more often.

The survey was conducted in August and September this year as part of Bicycle Network’s mandatory helmet law policy review.

Currently under the law, it is compulsory to wear a helmet whenever riding a bike in Australia, excluding the Northern Territory.

Bicycle Network CEO, Craig Richards, said the responses received from its members and the public will help the organisation evaluate its position on helmets, forming one part of a wider review which also includes a literature review and evaluation of expert opinion.

“It’s great to get such a large amount of public opinion about bike helmets. It’s something people are clearly passionate about and it’s helpful to see how Australia’s helmet laws may impact people’s decision to ride,” said Mr Richards.

“The opinion of our members and people who ride bikes is important and will help inform our policy on Australia’s mandatory helmet law. Along with academic research and information from experts, we will be able to make a fully informed decision.”

When it comes to relaxing laws, it’s not one-size-fits-all

While most people said they don’t support mandatory helmet laws, there was a divide in whether laws should be fully relaxed, or adapted in specific situations.

41% think helmets should still be mandatory in some circumstances, such as riding in ‘high risk’ situations, like racing, riding on roads or under 18 years of age.

“Understandably, there are people that feel safer wearing a helmet. But there are situations where some people have told us they would feel safe without a helmet, like riding on a trail next to the beach,” added Mr Richards.

“If we were to change our policy on Australia’s mandatory helmet laws, it may not be as simple as saying you’ll never have to wear one again.”

Bicycle Network is Australia’s largest bike riding organisation representing 50,000 members.

It’s mandatory helmet law policy review began in August this year and is expected to be completed by April 2018.

 

Helmet Law Survey Results - Bicycles Create Change.comSummary of Bicycle Network’s mandatory helmet law survey

  • The survey was completed by 19,327 respondents
  • Respondents were mostly Bicycle Network members and people who ride bikes with varying regularity. 2.6% of respondents were from overseas, and 1.9% of respondents said they never ride a bike.
  • 58.3% of respondents said there should be a change to helmet laws, while the remaining 41.7% said helmets should be mandatory all the time
  • 40.7% believe helmets should only be mandatory when the risk is high, for example, when racing, on road or for young people
  • 30.4% would ride more if helmets weren’t mandatory
  • If laws changed, almost all people who currently wear a helmet when they ride would continue to do so and the number of people who never wear a helmet when riding would only increase by 3.7%

This post was first published by Bicycle Network on 21st Nov, 2017.