Why is cycling so controversial?

Sydney has a newly created network of cycle tracks, separated lanes and paths which have been named the Sydney Cycleways, I think this is a great name as it captures the concept of a combination of separated paths, shared paths and cycling lanes in the city, all of which go to make up this network. It has been an initiative of Clover Moore, the Mayor of Sydney. I do not think that such a widespread initiative for cycling can take place without such a truly committed political leader. However, she has had considerable criticism for this and is now under attack.

Recently there was an event organised to support Clover Moore when she came under political attack, called Roll with Clover, it was organised not by political supporters but by bike riders who wanted to show support and solidarity for her cycling friendly initiatives. Her political opponent, Barry O’Farrell, has threatened to remove the bike lanes which have been an initiative of Clover’s and which are controversial due to their taking away car parking spaces, though it is difficult to see how restoring the parking spaces and having cyclists convert to car driving (and thus requiring car parking themselves), will make any positive difference to this perceived dilemma. An extremely effective way around car parking problems is to get more people on bikes. 

The NSW Bike Plan moots to have 10% of all trips by bike by 2030. Our two local councils, NCC and LMCC, both have cycling strategies and similar targets to be met regarding total trips by bike. I do not know of any councils, or indeed any tier of government in Australia, which has targeted a reduction of cycling, or is even indifferent to the levels of cycling in their electoral area – all seem to have the same goal of increasing trips by bicycle. Unfortunately, it seems that the only way to achieve this is by having a mayor such as Clover Moore who is committed to making controversial changes which will bring about the achievement of such targets and the statistics show that her initiative is working.

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6 Responses to Why is cycling so controversial?

  1. anniebikes says:

    Go Ms. Moore! Sydney is very lucky to have this pro-bike mayor. Montreal has bike lanes exactly like the one in photo number two. And, they work. Car centric societies all encounter the same opposition to removing parking spaces. You and I don’t understand this, but we are the anomaly. It has to do with people feeling it is their “right” to maintain a car driving life. You and I might agree that there are too many cars now and it’s much better and healthier to ride a bike, but unfortunately the general population doesn’t see it that way.

    Are those eucalyptus trees in the first and third photos?

  2. Vicki says:

    Sydney IS very lucky and we will not get anything like she has done unless we get a similar mayor. The bike lane in photo 2 is how they are all marked at the approach to an intersection to warn riders to look out for lights and cars. Yes that is a eucalypt, we call them gum trees, they provide lovely shade in the city.

  3. Jess says:

    I’m sorry to reduce the comments on your great blog to this….,, but there’s more than one reason politician in question is nicknamed “fatty o’barrel” sorry. Teehee.

  4. Vicki says:

    Good one Jess 🙂

  5. mick Dennzier says:

    now some geezer wanta to pull them up. Don;t vote for this Frank Monte. All he wants is more polluting cars on the road and to charge cyclists.
    http://www.mayormonte.com

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