Maritime & Transport

Twitter Debate: Safer Cycling in Australian Cities

Brisbane transport planner Rachel Smith (@CyclingRSmith) is an enthusiastic blogger and advocate for cycling in our cities.  Yesterday, the shortlisted 2012 TED Global Fellow initiated an interesting Twitter discussion (#cyclecitychat) about cycling, streets, and safety on our roads. The one hour real time debate addressed six issues and featured some interesting contributions from the Twitter community. Here is a summary of the most interesting contributions from Twitterfeed organised around the six questions. The responses are slightly amended for the purpose of readability.

Cycle City Chat Twitter Screen shotQuestion 1 (@CyclingRSmith): What street is the safest street you have cycled on?

MikeandmyBike: Federation Way Sydney no cars.

Warwickabsolon: Hard to name one – but can describe: no blind bends, plenty of width, separated from cars and pedestrians,

EmilyFdelaPena: Living in Bonn Germany I felt safe on any city street I cycled. I didn’t think twice about taking the shortest route.

Warwickabsolon: In Brisbane, the cyclepath along the Western Freeway is good – I have not ridden on a street that is safe – not in Brisbane.

MikeandmyBike: Or general cycling in countries that have a law of liability to protect more vulnerable road users.

BicycleAdagio: Canning St in Carlton Nth, Melbourne. No through-traffic, big bike lanes, traffic calming. It’s magic.

kitc85: Probably a countryside road where I had a it to myself i.e. no cars!


Question 2 (CyclingRSmith): Do we need separated bikeways OR to challenge current road/street design? Why do we fail to challenge the poor design of streets that prioritise rapid vehicle movements, rather than people?

DZ_AU: Two words: petrified politicians. Because political will is only missing ingredient to turn that around.

EmilyFdelaPena: How many people are we moving vs. How many vehicles are we moving? Are we designing the city for people or vehicles?

The_CityMouse: Pedestrian experience is left to the urban designers but if the roads are finalised it’s too late!


Question 3 (CyclingRSmith): How can we make space in Aussie city streets for children and older ladies to ride a bicycle safely?

MikeandmyBike: Simple-but not so simple-old answer. Separated facilities and cautious drivers.

Warwickabsolon: Close lanes that are under-utilised. Big barriers in between.

EmilyFdelaPena: Inclusive design: design for perception of safety. Regardless of the stats of cycling on main roads,I still wouldn’t do it.


Question 4 (CyclingRSmith): Regardless of our cycling abilities do Australian cities need separated bikeways or slower speed limits or both?

MikeandmyBike: Both. But lower speed limits may be more effective to reduce accidents – proven stats.

warwickabsolon : If I had to choose – separated bikeways, but then again. What is easier to enforce for longer times?

The_CityMouse: Also traffic safety lessons and training for women by women?

Davide Zulli: People lose their minds at thought of ‘their’ tax dollars being used for bikeways so lower speed limits.

EmilyFdelaPena: Both. Design that keeps speeds low in local streets. Speed limits don’t always keep speeds low. Separation on busier roads.

Ads4Cyclists: Both, but more importantly STATE-FUNDED Driver AWARENESS & EDUCATION programs for CYCLIST SAFETY.


Question 5 (CyclingRSmith): How do we as residents & tax payers tackle ALL the problems: pothole identification, safety, lobbying MP’s?

EmilyFdelaPena : Start with creating our own solutions and then businesses and governments will feel compelled to match the effort and the change.

DZ_AU: After 7 yrs managing stakeholders, I can confirm residents far are better at addressing issues than pollies!! Problems arise when genuine issues raised by community are dismissed with party-specific motherhood statements.


Question 6: Say 1 or even pledge – 1 thing that you will do next week/month to improve #bicycle #safety where you live? Good luck! 

Warwickabsolon: Come to a complete stop at a stop sign, not just very slow. I don’t do it in a car, why do it on my bike?

EmilyFdelaPena: I’m going to take some friends (who don’t or haven’t cycled for a while) on a super fun bike ride.

MikeandmyBike: Ride more – safety in numbers

One thought on “Twitter Debate: Safer Cycling in Australian Cities

  1. Here is a conclusion of the most exciting efforts from Twitterfeed organized around the six concerns. The reactions are a little bit revised for the objective of legibility.

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