“The Tour Down Under Is A Good Thing For Cycling” – 5 lessons from our recent advocacy forum.

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Bicycle SA and Andersons Solicitors hosted an advocacy forum at the Kings Head on all things cycling related earlier this week with a focus on the new road rules. Here are 5 key things we learnt. 

Bike SA and Andersons Solicitors hosted an advocacy forum the King’s Head this week for a discussion about the big issues in the world of cycling. The event was designed to unite South Australian cyclists to discuss the big issues when it comes to cycling and included a curated panel discussion with top cycling experts. Our panel members included:

  • Stephen Cunningham – Cycling coach and former professional cyclist from ProCycling Skills.
  • Stephen Yarwood – Former Adelaide Lord Mayor and CEO of Urban Consultancy City2050
  • Peter Macdonald – CEO, Cycling SA
  • Margaret Boylan – Cycling Coach, Personal Trainer  and owner of First Principles Fitness and Coaching
  • Mary Safe – Mother of Amy Gillett, Amy Gillett Foundation.

Here are some key points we took from our group of experts.

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“The Tour Down Under is a good thing for cycling.” – Stephen Cunningham

People often debate the merits of the Tour Down Under and its effect on everyday cycling. Too much lycra, too much focus on racing and not enough carry on throughout the year.

But Stephen Cunningham disagrees.

“It gets so many people out on a bike.. lots of people from interstate coming to Adelaide and enjoying our roads.”

He sees it as a win-win, bringing in serious tourist dollars and ensuring our State Government can see merit in building more bike infrastructure as a way of putting Adelaide on the international map.

“Soon there will be no such thing as cycling.” – Stephen Yarwood

Now that’s he’s no longer Lord Mayor, Stephen Yarwood spends his time travelling the globe as an urbanist with a zeal for all things transport related. His focus wasn’t the now, but rather the future. In his opinion, the next 50 years will see the term cycling rendered obsolete.

“It’s all going to be about moving people through cities.”

According to Stephen the machines in which we travel will be secondary to how quickly we can get there. Electric bikes? Hoverboards? Levitating bikes? The future could be very interesting indeed. In any case, Stephen’s wealth of experience as an urban planner made us see that cycling is part of a broader transport system and that we should look at the big picture when it comes to transport.

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“Cyclists in groups have a greater sense of responsibility” – Peter Macdonald.

While people are often quick to complain about the “Peletons” of cyclists during the TDU, Peter made a pertinent point that cyclists in groups aren’t those who flout road rules.

“It’s near impossible to run a red light when you’re cycling in a big group. Half of the peleton would be split up and your fellow cyclists would give you a hard time for breaking road rules.”

While many like complaining about cyclists in big groups – positive peer pressure certainly means those in groups tend to follow road rules.

“Women won’t cycle if they don’t feel safe” – Margaret Boylan.

Australia’s stats when it comes to women and cycling aren’t pretty. More than 80% of Adelaide’s cyclists are male and repeated Bike SA surveys show that women don’t feel safe in Adelaide traffic.

“I often take my female clients out on the weekend or in the early morning. It’s pretty obvious to me why; there are no cars and they feel safe.”

Margaret thinks making our roads safer with more infrastructure and better driver education is the key to getting more women on two wheels.

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“We’ve got to expect the unexpected” – Mary Safe

Mary Safe understands tragedy far too well – and her message for everybody – whether you’re walking, riding your bike, driving a car or taking a bus – is to expect the unexpected. She believes that roads, footpaths and cycle paths can present danger – and if everybody is respectful and aware then we’re going to be able to make our roads that little bit safer.

You can view photos of the event here. Become a Bike SA Member and help improve conditions for cycling. 

Tags: Bike sA, cycling, news,

6 Comments. Leave new

Only 1 of the 5 has anything to do with the TDU. The others refer to sports cycling and safer infrastructure design and implementation. Where is your data to substantiate your headline claim? Comparative studies overseas have shown, with data, that sports cycling events do very little to encourage increases in everyday cycling rates. Other case studies (i.e. Barcelona) have shown significant increases in ridership with the implementation of better, safer, connected, separated infrastructure.

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Peter Macdonald
January 22, 2016 5:09 am

When the TDU first arrived in Adelaide I did the “breakaway tour” (now Bupa) with 750 other riders. Many of us rode partly because of the opportunity to get a free jersey in the days when they were extremely expensive. The number has reached 8,000 in recent times, and we all have our own jerseys already. Recreational Cycling has grown enormously in SA since the TDU started. Admittedly commuter cycling rates are not affected by cycling events.

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Do you ride a bike or spend your whole time complaining. No wonder Adelaide gets a reputation for always putting things down.

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Speak for yourself. I’ve been riding a bike for commuting, shopping and most of my other errands for years. If anyone has a right to complain then it should be people like me and the children who want to have the infrastucture to safely do the same

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Agree. It is hilarious wathing from abroad how Australian cities and so called cycling advocacy bodies are pumping their chest when they are able to get more recreational riders out on the road. There is a much as much relevance between recreational riders and people who would like to transport themselves from A to B in the urban fabric that there are between F1 fans polishing their Geminis on the weekend and everyday people who drive to and from work safely.
Getting the recreational riders to provide input to liveable cities and safe cycling infrastructure and regulations which is the essence of promoting cycling if counterproductive. Think 1 metre matters and Photo ID in NSW and AG Foundation. The rest of the world where cycling is ‘normal’ is watching in disbelief.

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If only for raising the number of people riding on the road and therefore motorists conscience of cyclists the TdU is a good thing. It may be true re infrastructure but doesn’t have to be an either or. Running the TdU also costs a fraction of what infrastructure does (again not saying it should be one or the other).

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