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Opinion

Sydney Cycling > The onus is on the rider

I’m a regular user of Sydney’s Bourke Street cycle path that stretches from Redfern to Woolloomooloo.

In my opinion, it’s added to the uniqueness of what I think is Sydney’s most beautiful street.

Granted, I never really jumped onto a bike until I moved close the path, but once I did, it really has changed my travelling habits.

It’s given me another option, a healthier and more enjoyable travelling option.

I’ve even made the commitment, to not touch my car on weekends at the very least, if I’m not transporting something.

As I got more confident on the path, I also used Sydney’s roads along with the paths.

While there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done to connect the city, especially east/west Sydney CBD, Waterloo/Alexandria and CBD/Bondi connections, what the bike lanes have done, for me anyway, is create an awareness of this other mode of transport, and its use has made me incorporate it into my lifestyle.

Today, dozens of cyclists were fined in Pyrmont, mainly for running red lights and for not wearing helmets. It follows reports of NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s plan to remove Clover Moore’s transport powers and potentially derail the city’s cycling infrastructure.

I’ll leave the cycling debate alone for now and whether or not it is good for business, that’s a completely different story, but for cyclists, the onus is really on themselves, to be included in the transport community.

As more people take to two wheels, I feel that it is imperative that cyclists follow the road rules, not just because it’s the law, but to be good role models for the younger generation who will hopefully take up cycling as an optional mode of transport, further encouraging the use of cycle paths to make this infrastructure economically sustainable.

I like seeing kids smiling and enjoying themselves as they ride to school along Bourke Street, but what I don’t like seeing, are the older riders disobeying the road rules, and failing to wear helmets.

It’s our moral responsibility to be good role models for younger riders, especially as National Ride2School Day approaches on Friday 23rd March.

While some push bike riders may get angry about some drivers failing to recognise cyclists or frustrate riders by blocking the bike paths, I do feel the onus is on the riding community, for now anyway, to take it in their stride as drivers are also educated about the rights of cyclists, their presence on the roads, and their place in the travelling community.

And that means, cyclists following the road rules, and sticking to them, even more so than drivers, to help encourage change.

MEMO>ricardo

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Sydney Cycling > The onus is on the rider

  1. here here. i’ve been saying for years (as a reformed fixie douchbag) “be the change you want to see in the world”

    Posted by Lizanne | March 8, 2012, 9:40 am
  2. I agree for the most part Ricardo.

    Compulsory helmets for adults, though, I have a serious problem with. It’s deterred new riders at a time when we need as many as we can get (for many reasons, including safety-in-numbers). We and NZ are the only countries with such a law for adults. We also have the lowest cycling rates in the world.

    I make every other effort to follow the law and set a good example: I’ve never run a red light, always give way to pedestrians in shared areas, etc. Not wearing a helmet for my shorter trips (on a slow, upright bike on quiet streets and cycleways) is the only way I have to register my dissent — both with the helmet law and with the questionably-motivated police crackdowns in the last couple of weeks.

    Posted by Steve | March 29, 2012, 2:58 pm
    • I hear you. I fell in love with bike riding a few years ago when I picked up a bike in Montreal, hired it for a few days, then dropped it off at another location, no helmet needed. It was easy.

      I guess for now though, helmet use is the law.

      Posted by Ricardo Goncalves | April 3, 2012, 6:56 pm

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