27 September 2008

Manly Beach Bike Week - Sustainable Mobility

Manly Council is hosting the NSW Bike Week, (pdf) (RTA) on Sunday, 280908 from 10 am to 4 pm at North Steyne.
The key objectives are to
" Raise the profile of the use of bicycles for short local trips.
Promote safe cycling and the use of shared bicycle/ pedestrian facilities
The Road and Transport Authorities main aim is to improve safety on the roads.

Once one has "dusted off" one's push bike and obtained safety gadgets it is off to a high risk territory of armoured and petrol-powered vehicles.
The motorised community's behaviour hits the attention-economy daily with news of road rage, bullying, 'hit and run' and ploughing into pedestrians or their houses. "Accidents", speeding and intoxicated vehicular manslaughter are the norm. Bodily harm is also caused by the noise and chemical pollution that is being inflicted on all. Pedestrians and cyclists wishing to share this space seem to be perceived as a lower species with less rights, as they are not obtaining power derived from fossil fuels. Not contributing to Australia's record emissions they are treated as being 'in the way'.

Awareness needs to be raised not in the community that is achieving sustainable mobility, but in the petrol vulnerable car-dependent nation and its mind-sets. Structural change needs to to facilitate safe and emission free transportation.

Many bikes in Manly still arrive on/in cars. The 'leisure bikes' get unpacked with idling motors at the beach/car-park. Variations range from plastic uniformed racing bikes, to large family groups, with children often on dysfunctional cheap 'throw-away' bikes and mounting-bikes looking for municipality tree-edges to crack. Of course, there are some real-life cyclists arriving on bikes as well. But all are seeking to join in on the heel-to heel packed 2.4 kilometre (1.5-mile) Pacific beach path. The cycle/walkway proper is situated along the beach car park with many cars having hard or sharp protrusions right over the cycle path. At night the beach walkway has racing bikes endangering pedestrians. Off the beach drag, the fragmented bike paths are often parked on. Without the provision of physically-separated bicycle paths the life of a bare body on a wire frame is taking a higher risk. Arriving for ones "short local trip" there are insufficient bike racks to do the shopping. The odd bicycle bar is often taken up by motor-bikes, conquering the pedestrian paths increasingly. Resorting to tie the bike to trees/palms further degrades the neglected trees.

Leaving the bike and attempting to cross any marked pedestrian path is a struggle, and one had better run. The designated 'pedestrian zones' are most of the time filled with delivery trucks and trades vehicles. Idling is the norm. Car design regulations in Australia are lagging behind causing injury and death to walking people and cyclists. Fatal injuries could be avoided by spending a bit on reducing harm to the 'collided objects'.

"About 300 pedestrians and cyclists are killed in vehicle-related accidents on Australian roads each year and another 3000 sustain serious injuries.
The most common injuries are serious head injuries, broken legs and ribs and fractures to the pelvis.
Cycling is a wonderful form of mobility, but the mind set of the car addicted community and their practices has to be targeted and structural urban changes have to be realised and enforced.
1. Corso 'bike path'
2. Beach bike path with dangerous protrusion in ya face
3. Beach bike path with knife-like instrument at head level
4. Manly Cove pedestrians & push bikes only!, 3 large motorbikes, one idling bus.

Update 021008
- They complain about birds swooping cyclists in their breeding season as they run out of habitat. Pity, there are no corresponding articles about the deadly dangers posed to pedestrians and push-bike riders by urban tanks steared by aggro drivers at pedestrians, push-bike riders and birds. (Manly Daily 021008, the dead-tree version is most reliable!)

No comments: