Lake Macquarie City Council is currently calling for feedback on its cycling strategy. This raises some interesting questions as the council has targeted a fair portion of its cycling budget for educational programs rather than for building new infrastructure. This distribution of funding raises the question: Which is more effective in promoting the uptake of cycling, infrastructure or awareness? Sydney has revamped its cycling network recently with a great degree of success, although not without some controversy, as is to be expected with an innovation such as this.
I recently read this report on cycling in Sydney and the barriers to uptake of cycling and what can be done to minimise them. One of the things that was mentioned was the “normalisation” of cycling, which is perceived as very important in the process of cycling for transport becoming widely accepted.
Many reasons cited in Appendix A of the report for uptake of cycling involved people they knew, or saw, cycling: either work colleagues, friends and family or co-commuters, people seeing other cyclists is obviously a trigger for taking up cycling. Certainly, for me, one of the things that prompted me to cycle for transport was seeing others cycling in that mode, though I was already a competent cyclist through sport; although the two are so different that I did not feel that I could use a bike for everyday transport until I saw others doing it.
Of course, none of this discussion takes into account the quality of the infrastructure planned, which can vary from this, which I do not believe would motivate anyone to cycle, and which was free of any cyclists on the day I took these photos …