To really create a bike friendy culture, a number of things need to change in the way people think, and that is not always related to just the bicycle infrastructure (ie bike paths). At the local Bunnings hardware store, there are no bike racks, and nowhere convenient to lock up bikes, so many of us resort to the above solution of tying it to a post, which puts it in people’s way, or even to one of those short red bollards, which require only that the bike be lifted up and a thief can walk away with it.
So I asked the staff there why there are no bike racks and I was told that there used to be, but one day a lady tripped over them and had to be taken to hospital. Then the bike racks were removed. See in the photo above, there are yellow raised pieces of concrete at the right of the photo, to make sure cars don’t park too far forward. These are also trip hazards, but they are there still. I am also sure that many people have been hit by cars in parking lots and maybe even killed, but that does not mean that the parking lots will be closed. So why choose this solution with the bike racks?
Here are my two grandsons, both worn out after a morning at the swimming pool. When we went there, my daughter was not allowed to take her Nihola into the pool grounds as it is a bike and bikes are not allowed in public pool grounds. If it were a pram or a wheelchair it would be OK. So she had to wrangle two toddlers in the pool grounds, trying to change one while the other one tried to run away, whereas if she could have taken in the Nihola, she would be able to restrain one while dressing the other one, a much safer situation around a deep pool.
We talked to the pool manager about it and he said the bike was a trip hazard, even though on that day the pool was nearly empty and there was plenty of space for many many cargo bikes without impinging on anyone or creating a trip hazard near the pool. He also said it was policy and that he could not allow it in the grounds. So that week I sent an email to Newcastle City Council, asking that pool managers be given more discretion in matters such as this and that they be encouraged to adopt bike friendly choices in such situations. I still haven’t heard back….
The point I am making is that attitudes to bikes have to change, that bikes should not have to play second fiddle in so many situations where a very small concession would make a world of difference to bike riders, and that this would also make bikes a more attractive option for many more people when using them becomes easier.