There are sweet days for city commuters and they’re called school holidays. Everyone knows them. They are the days when an empty seat welcomes you on the train or bus and the traffic seems to flow more smoothly along our motorways and city streets.

Is this how you'd rather spend your time?

In a perfect world it would be like that all the time. But our cities are growing. There are more and more people depending on our existing transport networks. With our 18 major cities home to three-quarter of all Australians, congestion is becoming one of the greatest problems we face. It drags like an anchor on our national productivity and steals time better spent with our families.

Here are three uncomfortable facts. Firstly, eight of ten commuting trips in Australia today are still undertaken by car.

Secondly, congestion this year is costing us $13 billion and if nothing is done, will cost us $20 billion by 2020. And finally, obesity has now overtaken tobacco as our greatest cause of preventable disease, costing us just short of $60 billion a year. I could add a further uncomfortable fact: Australia lags well behind most other OECD countries when it comes to embracing alternatives to the car.

Put all this together and it points to something pretty clear. If we are to unclog our cities and free commuters from the painful grind of inching their way along crowded roads each day, we need to refocus our transport priorities. The added bonus would be a more active and healthier population.

Recently, I launched a discussion paper that I hope will be the start of a national conversation. It is called Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport and looks at how the Australian Government can work with other governments, business and the community to help get people out of their cars and onto public transport, onto bicycles or simply onto their own two feet.

It looks particularly at the short trips such as those that connect with a bus or train station, or that take place within a few kilometres of activity hubs such as a university, hospital or CBD. Safe, separated walking and cycle paths could provide commuters with a healthy alternative to the car, leaving the roads for those that have to use them.

These ideas are hardly new. In many European cities cycling accounts for a fifth of all trips. Since 2007, New York has built 430 kilometres of cycle paths and the number of New Yorkers who ride to school or work has doubled since then. Portland has put in 500 kilometres of cycle paths and now 13 per cent of all trips are by bike. It has integrated cycling throughout its transport network and has set a target of 25 per cent bicycle mode share by 2030.

In Australia, most States have taken some steps to integrate cycling and walking into transport strategies. In Canberra, cyclists are able to load their bikes onto the front of a bus. In Perth, cyclists can ride right onto some train platforms and with a smart card secure their bikes in a covered lock-up while they head off to work.

Brisbane and Melbourne have vastly improved their cycle networks and offer share bikes in their CBDs. And while retrofitting cities for cycling might be complex, disruptive and costly, new bike paths are relatively cheap. For example, the cost of one kilometre of road or motorway would fund 110 kilometres of bikeway.

One of the greatest advantages of walking or riding is the exercise that comes with it. Walking to and from public transport can provide commuters with their required 30 minutes of daily exercise. The net health benefit for each kilometre walked is estimated at 144 cents, while each kilometre cycled is 75 cents.

A recent Spanish study found that replacing even one regular motorised trip by walking or cycling makes a significant health difference. In Britain, children that cycle to school are significantly fitter than their mates who arrive by bus or car. A longitudinal Scandinavian study found mortality rates 28 per cent down in workers who cycle to work.

The discussion paper, which is now open for submissions, is simply a starting point. It continues a national conversation begun last year with the launch of the national urban policy which directly addresses the challenges facing the productivity, sustainability and liveability of our major cities. While responsibility for providing public transport and pedestrian and bike paths rests with the States and local councils, this Federal Government has made sizeable investments in these areas. In fact, this Government has invested more in urban public transport than all national governments combined since Federation.

There are great national benefits from walking, riding and making better use of public transport. Cleaner air, healthier Australians and smoother roads are some of them. Harder to quantify in dollars is the gain in urban liveability. The thing that defines the world’s great cities is that people can move about safely and freely within easy reach of public transport. If we can manage that in our cities, then every day will feel like a school holiday.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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131 comments

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    • Samwell Tarly says:

      04:44am | 20/11/12

      Lose the compulsory helmet law for those over 18 and bicycle usage would increase by 39%!

    • Colin says:

      07:20am | 20/11/12

      Exactly. I mean, what’s a few hundred extra deaths and brain injuries going to hurt when your vanity is at stake..? Heaven forbid that you might look silly with a helmet on…

    • Michael S says:

      08:31am | 20/11/12

      Where did you get the 39% number from? Is it one of the 64% of statistics that are made up?

    • Simon says:

      08:39am | 20/11/12

      @Colin, the helmet law hasn’t been shown to make any significant difference on the rate of serious head injury, but it has significantly reduced the rate of cycling, which reduces overall health. The helmet law is a big health issue, but unfortunately it’s been BAD for health, not good.

    • Al B says:

      08:40am | 20/11/12

      Well said Sam. I do wear a helmet myself on longer rides and in terrain where i could be at more risk of coming off. But when i am riding down the shops for some fish and chips, or taking a leisurely cruise to the beach to read some Ayn Rand (hehe) ...i don’t wear a helmet.

      Mandatory helmet laws are those who are incapable of making their own decision at to whether its appropriate to wear one for the situation. So maybe for kids under 10 still on training wheels. For me, i’ll leave the helmet at home thanks very much. Would rather wear the fine…though lucky so far!

    • Phil says:

      08:53am | 20/11/12

      lol, let them not wear helmets, but let them wear the full responsibility of their actions. No complaints after by the family wanting to blame someone else.
      Anything that thins out the stupid in our society should be seen as a blessing in my view.

    • Nik Dow says:

      09:04am | 20/11/12

      Well said.  The health benefits of cycling (with or without a helmet) exceed all risks by a large factor (20:1 commonly quoted). Because helmet laws deter around 1 in 5 Australians from riding a bike, the net effect of helmet laws is more disease, shorter lives and greater health costs.

      If you want to wear a helmet, nobody will stop you.

      Sign up to support helmet law reform at http://www.freestylecyclists.org

    • morrgo says:

      09:07am | 20/11/12

      @Colin: it is a tradeoff, whichever way you are looking at it.  Face it: you just cannot have all the good things without any of the bad.

      At the moment, cyclists are mostly male and fit anyway.  Not ruining a hairdo with a helmet IS keeping many women away from cycling.  An excuse or not, many people of both genders cite helmets as an impediment.  Public cycle schemes would certainly be much better patronized if helmets were no compulsory. 

      So, while there would likely be more head injuries with relaxed helmet laws, there would also be benefits in improved public health and reduced congestion.  You may like to note that Australia is pretty unique with the bike-helmet laws: other countries clearly perceive a different tradeoff being better.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      09:15am | 20/11/12

      How about allowing people to make their own decision about the level of risk they’re prepared to take, colin? People could still wear helmets if they wanted to.

    • Colin says:

      10:04am | 20/11/12

      I don’t know; if you take away someone’s right for medical treatment/compensation after you repeal a law for adult bike helmet wearing, where do you then draw the line of responsibility, and where do you stop revoking people’s common law rights when other ‘Adults’ are given full rein - but no recourse - in other pursuits..?

      oh, and as for the women not wanting to mess up their hair with a helmet, I also believe that helmets should be compulsory in CARS, especially given the high death rate from head injuries…but when this was put to the legislative vote some years ago, it was dismissed for the very same ‘Women’s hair’ reasoning, and I remember thinking at the time, “Your hair is going to be a damned sight more messed up with all that blood, skull bone, and brain matter in it after you hit a tree…”

    • Modern Primitive says:

      11:04am | 20/11/12

      Who said anything about denying them medical treatment?

      Using your argument, we should all wear helmets whilst walking around, as tripping and hitting your head on the foot path “could” kill you.

    • Jason says:

      11:48am | 20/11/12

      84% of statistics are made up

    • Steve says:

      12:37pm | 20/11/12

      So, let me get this right… wearing a helmet messes your hair but riding at pace through the breeze doesn’t??

    • Colin says:

      12:48pm | 20/11/12

      @ Modern Primitive

      “Using your argument, we should all wear helmets whilst walking around…”

      No, if you re-read the first paragrpah of my last post, I said;

      “...where do you then draw the line of responsibility, and where do you stop revoking people’s common law rights when other ‘Adults’ are given full rein - but no recourse - in other pursuits..?”

      In other words, if you repeal all the laws for protection (as what may be possible if a precedence would be set for if you withdraw helmets) where do you draw the line between personal and common law responsibility..?

    • Modern Primitive says:

      01:43pm | 20/11/12

      I’m sorry, but what has to be redefined? Just give people the choice as to whether they want to wear a helmet or not. Same as you now have a choice as to weather you want to wear a helmet in your car or not. Others are happy to wear the risk, whereas you are free to wrap yourself in cotton wool.

      Also, why are you lefties always so worried about what others are up to?

    • Fed Up says:

      04:59am | 20/11/12

      So this is Labor Party policy to fix traffic congestion eg M4.
      Ride a bike????
      So there’s no money for infrastructure due to the wasted billions on pink batts,school halls etc etc etc
      What ya need to do is rip up Parramatta Rd and make it a motorway and close off all non essential vehicles in our hubs….Syd,Parra etc
      Hardly think in going to ride a bike 100 k’s a day…im not Tony Abbott.
      All we need is more idiot bikers on the road…they dont pay their way so they shouldn’t be there…..

    • Jonathan says:

      07:19am | 20/11/12

      To start with: you really need to do some research into how roads are paid for.  Non-motorists actually subsidise roads for all you rego-payers: you’re welcome.
      Secondly, I agree that all non-essential vehicles should be charged to enter the Sydney CBD, with all revenue put straight back into public transport.

    • PJ says:

      07:35am | 20/11/12

      Well ha ha what can you say.

      Albanese: Get on you’re bike, I’ll wave at you from my Limo.

      Labor are the cause of course with there full throttle Mass immigration, which pumps into our crowding cities, 1300 extra bodies a week.

      Labor intimate we are somehow obstinate in using our cars. But the fact is transport in Australia is diabolical.

      And Labors spending priorities are elsewhere, first it was vote buying entitlements for low to middle income families and now its ego tripping on the foreign stage writing huge cheques for African despots and Asian nations, whose GDP is not too dissimilar to our own.

      Albanese’s and his mates have a problem. $300 Billion debt, $120 Billion budget deficit with a big pile of promises on the table to pay for.

      A Congestion tax, or some other tax related to punishing us for using our cars might just help them solve their reckless spending antics.

      Its not safe on a bike. Its not practical to ride a bike to work, since most offices do not have shower facilities. In the winter it will be even more dangerous and highly unpleasant.

      Albanese overlooks all of this when he suggests the only reason your in your car is due to some level of stubboness.

      Brace yourself, I sense another tax, dressed up once again with some righteous cause around health and polution.

      Believe me, getting on youre bike 5 days a week, especially in rain, is far more dangerous to people’s health.

    • Ben C says:

      09:12am | 20/11/12

      @ Jonathon

      “Non-motorists actually subsidise roads for all you rego-payers”

      Yes, because motorists don’t pay taxes, and non-motorists don’t use the roads at all, not even when they catch a bus or taxi.

    • LC says:

      09:46am | 20/11/12

      Greens car ownership tax, as proposed at last years tax forum, anyone?

      Get rid of them and Labor next election.

    • Jonathan says:

      10:05am | 20/11/12

      Ben C: you spelled my name wrong.

    • Gordon says:

      10:36am | 20/11/12

      In Brisbane most cyclists do pay their way because they are rate payers and most city road used by cyclists are maintained by the city council. Also a careful reading will indicate that the solution is not to put more cyclists on the road, but on suitable bike paths without cars.  Keeping cars and cyclists apart is good for everyone.

    • Ben C says:

      11:10am | 20/11/12

      Sorry Jonathan

    • Kurisu Sonsaku says:

      05:11am | 20/11/12

      So a person with a commonwealth car and driver lectures people about driving.

      Irony +++

    • acotrel says:

      05:14am | 20/11/12

      When will our governments get smarter and allow commuters to use 125cc fourstroke motorcycles like the Honda CT110 on our under- utilised cycle paths ? The speeds are similar to a pushbike, and their size is compatible.

    • Vernon says:

      08:01am | 20/11/12

      Spot on acotrel, few can commute to work every day by pushbike (although Adelaide is an exception) motorcycles are the best compromise and having been a postie and ridden a CT110 I agree it’s the perfect commuter. The 50cc bikes are WAY to slow for traffic and should be banned from registration.

    • morrgo says:

      09:10am | 20/11/12

      Or just have a realistic registration for motobikes.  My 250cc bike uses much less fuel and causes much less congestion or road damage than cars, but the registration is just as expensive.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      09:13am | 20/11/12

      I honestly don’t know why more people don’t use scooters or motorcycles. Cheap, fun, and there’s no such thing as congestion. wink

      As one of the fattest nations on earth, its pretty clear that we aren’t going to suddenly rush out and take up cycling because the politicians are out of ideas. Better to encourage more efficient use of the infrastructure we have now.

    • anna says:

      09:19am | 20/11/12

      Having rode both a 125 cc and a bicycle for a long period of time, I can tell you that the weights are not comparable. I can lift only one of those with one hand. And let’s remember F = ma, so when you triple the mass, you triple the force. I choose to ride on the bike path instead of the road for safety reasons. If you put motorbikes on the bikepaths, all the cyclists will just move to the road because it’s just as safe… At least you know where the cars are.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      11:06am | 20/11/12

      The size is comparible Anna.

      In fact, most pushbikes are physically bigger than a posited bike.

    • PW says:

      03:55pm | 20/11/12

      “In fact, most pushbikes are physically bigger than a posited bike.”

      What a load of shite.

      Bicycle- 10kg (some much lighter)
      CT110- 100kg.

      Your CT110 is capable of something in the order of 110km/h. Certainly it could sit on 80km/h all day long. A bicycle ridden by a very fit and strong rider might reach 35km/h on the flat.

      It’s a bit odd that motorcyclists/scooterists should want to take over bicycle infrastructure (which are more often than not shared with pedestrians, animals, etc) so that they don’t have to co-exist with larger vehicles, when they could quite easily purchase a motorcycle or scooter capable of just that.

    • MP says:

      04:50pm | 20/11/12

      I said physically bigger, as in size/dimensions, ie, it takes up more physical room. I didn’t say it was heavier.

      Honest to god, sometimes I wonder why I bother with some of you.

    • Bertrand says:

      05:40am | 20/11/12

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Becoming a commuter cyclist was the best thing I ever did. I lost 15kg in the first year I did it. My resting heart-rate has dropped from 65 to 48. I have saved over $10 000 in fuel, parking and public transport fees. The massive shot of endorphins every morning puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

      The more the government invests in cycleways, the better. I’ll always choose to ride on a bike path over a road. It’s safer and I understand that pushbikes and cars don’t mix. People get frustrated if a pushie is on the road slowing things down.

      It’s a shame Campbell Newman has already axed the Springfield Bike Path in favour of an extra car lane on the highway.

    • Reagan Smash says:

      08:42am | 20/11/12

      Same. After years driving, then abandoning that stress fest for public transport, then abandoning that stress fest for a bike when the cycleways began opening up in Sydney’s CBD in Feb 2011 I haven’t looked back. I have now even given up my car entirely as new suburban bike routes have come on line that connect my family, friends and other pursuits. Sure a few logistical problems to overcome, but now have it all down pat. Rain - got a jacket, cold - got a jacket, dark - got lights, clothes - found a cheap dry cleaner near work that only uses a small part of the huge savings from using other modes, time - bike now the quickest mode over the 40 km round trip commute, plus I dont have to wash, iron or go to the gym. Similarly lost 20 kg over 18 months and saved a huge amount of coin (even after my new Giant TCR - which just makes me even faster than all other modes). My only regret? not doing it sooner. Get the Ride the City app (or Google the website) to find bike friendly routes in your city. Amazing. Oh, and free rockstar parking everywhere!

    • Chris says:

      08:55am | 20/11/12

      Be careful with your massive shot of endorphins, look what happened to Lance Armstrong.

    • the cynic says:

      02:24pm | 20/11/12

      Reagan Smash it seems your comments are great for your circumstances , not knowing where you cycle from and to in Sydney I can only assume it is flat .

      I can assure you a commuting cycling endeavour that I had to endure for my early working life in Melbourne was no picnic. From a suburb in the North East to Airport West on rotating shift work, two huge hills one of which I never ever beat, walked up it every time on the way home!

      Freezing cold and pissing rain in winter stinking hot in summer. Blowing a gale, always into ones face.  Could carry nothing bigger than a lunch box and added 3 hours on to my working day / night.  No alternative public transport and I think still none that works for the journey I did for 4 years .

      Push bikes are great if you live in a tight flat community where the weather is predictable. Distances in most Australian cities is a reason not even to think about taking up a bicycle to work for the majority who are living in the ‘burbs.

      And as for a trip into the CBD in Melbourne from say the East or Northern suburbs would be an epic excercise, cycle ways or not.

    • Don says:

      05:56am | 20/11/12

      Spain have certainly solved their commuter problems in a different way. Unemployment there is running at 25 percent and is over 50 percent for young people. I really wouldn’t hold them up as any kind of example right now ya doofus,.

    • taxed citizen says:

      06:01am | 20/11/12

      I think your government Anthony should lead us all by example : get rid of chauffers give up car perks and petrol guzzlers and start cycling.

    • Michael S says:

      10:08am | 20/11/12

      Maybe not a great idea. Leaping Leo tried that in the 1990s, but couldn’t get his snout back into the trough quick enough.

    • Sloan says:

      06:05am | 20/11/12

      Lets ride old bikes everywhere like they do in Chinese cities. Gotta love progress.

      Good luck riding from Castle Hill to the east for work everyday just like they do in “Europe”.

    • Jonathan says:

      07:11am | 20/11/12

      I ride Baulkham Hills to the city 3 days a week, catch the bus the other days.  It’s perfectly doable.  And no, I’m not some super-athlete, just a regular bloke who wasn’t particularly fit when I started doing it, but sure as hell am now.
      The best part is passing all the cars stuck in traffic on the way home.

    • Simon says:

      08:42am | 20/11/12

      @Sloan, you don’t have to ride to benefit from other people riding. If others who live closer to the city start riding there’ll be more space on the road for you driving all the way from Castle Hill.

    • Sloan says:

      12:48pm | 20/11/12

      Thanks Jonathon, I will be sure to let my wife’s elderly mum know that she is to now ride to her doctors appointments rather than drive. It is only about 12km so all good.

      As for city to Castle Hill it is well over 30km one way. I used to ride competitively and used to do around 400km a week training till I was nearly killed by an idiot out near Berowra, so I am fully aware of how far 35kms is. To ask people in Castle Hill to ride 70km a day as a regular commute is madness.

      Not every worker has access to lockers and showers, particularly the lower paid who would most likely be the ones forced into using this method of transport.

      How about we just develop a first class transport system that is on time, is clean and runs frequently.

    • cheap white trash says:

      06:11am | 20/11/12

      Albo Albo Albo,please….
      Recently, I launched a discussion paper that I hope will be the start of a national conversation. It is called Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport and looks at how the Australian Government can work with other governments, business and the community to help get people out of their cars and onto public transport, onto bicycles or simply onto their own two feet.

      Do you really think you can fix this,every thing your Government Touches you F—k it up.So when the Adults get back in Charge maybe we could look at it then,but your lot,NO THANKS.
      And as for this…...Get on yer bike,Albo we need to save our Country…..
      End of Story.

    • PJ says:

      07:40am | 20/11/12

      Stop mass immigration and invest in transport and infrastructure.

      That’s so much better than asking us to risk our necks on bikes, or to stink like a pile of sweaty clothes all day after an hours cycling to work.

      This is you Gillard Government .

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      09:23am | 20/11/12

      Let me know when the Adults do get in charge because it isn’t the ALP and it sure as f—k ain’t the Coalition. Since when has either party been interested in reducing immigration and investing heavily in public transport?

    • glenm says:

      02:18pm | 20/11/12

      Agreed, CWT, Albanese’s white paper might as well be toilet paper. Yes we have a problem with congestion and public heatlh its so simple according to Albo, get on a bike. No mate maybe the government should actually look at the root of the problem not the result. We have congestion why is that? excess popoulation living in the outlying suburbs, Lack of public transport infrastructure, poor urban planning around communities. This is the discussion that we should be having not what bike to ride, or why we should have some additional bike paths.

    • Sloan says:

      06:13am | 20/11/12

      So essentially Anthony, stuff our city full of immigrants from the developing world, fail to build any infrastructure for that increased demand and then tell everyone whose quality of life has fallen as a consequence, to get on a bike and catch your failed and in many cases non-existent public transport.

      Not forgetting of course that you and the other corrupt “elites” are provided with a car and driver. I guess some animals really are more equal than others. You sicken me.

    • gobsmack says:

      06:19am | 20/11/12

      “Recently, I launched a discussion paper that I hope will be the start of a national conversation.”

      Oh, good to see you’re doing something.  [sarcasm alert]

    • ronny jonny says:

      06:34am | 20/11/12

      Spoken like an out of touch politician.
      We live 35 minutes from the centre of Melbourne, by car, off-peak. In peak hour that becomes well over an hour. My wife works in the city and travels by train, that’s a 45 minute trip. Not bad. However she is forced to drive to the train station which is about 5km away and park the car in a crowded carpark all day simply because the frequency of the bus service that could connect with the train is not enough.To take the bus she’d have to leave home much earlier and get home much later and when you already get up at 6:30 to get the kids and yourself moving and don’t get home until 6:45 at night the last thing you want to be doing is waiting around the station for an hour till your bus gets there. Riding a bike to the train station isn’t an option for someone who has to dress smartly, who has time to shower and change at work before starting your day? Politicians and some public servants I would guess. Melbournes winter isn’t all that flash for bike riding, not forgetting that you’d then have to sit on the train in your wet clothes for 45 minutes.
      The answer is simplicity itself. Increase the frequency of connecting bus services, increase the frequency and comfort of train travel, then you will see more people use these services. Oh and while you are at it, more security patrols or conductors would be nice, keep some of the nutters off the trains. This costs money and while the government is so determined to throw money away on all sorts of dodgy schemes to Save the Planet, there will be no money for practical things that may actually make a difference.
      The car wins because it is comfortable, convenient, relatively safe and cheap to run. You also don’t have to put up with idiots music, loud phone conversations, garlic breath and BO. You are also guaranteed a seat.
      “this Government has invested more in urban public transport than all national governments combined since Federation.”, and what have you achieved? It’s time this mob stopped bragging about how much they have spent and told us what the results have been.

    • Kate says:

      11:15am | 20/11/12

      All I heard was ‘excuse A, followed by excuse B and rounded out by “it’s all about ME”’.

      Just give it a try, you never know, you might like it. Oh, and there is such a thing as a rain coat for, well, rain.

    • ronny jonny says:

      04:21pm | 20/11/12

      Good one Kate, you better peddle back to your Labour staffers office, the cake will be getting stale.

    • Dave says:

      04:28pm | 20/11/12

      Riding 5 km to the station on an old step through while wearing smart clothes seems to work for several million Dutch.

    • Sloan says:

      07:03am | 20/11/12

      @ronny jonny

      They are not result driven, they are only concerned with how much money they can hand out to their mates through poorly tendered contacts or other corrupt practices that seem to belong more to corrupt Latin American economies of the 80’s than Australia of the 21st century.

      The opposition is just the same. This country needs a new broom to sweep through politics and clean this mess up. I suspect it would be a task to rival or surpass that of Hercules cleaning the Augean stables.

      Finding decent, honest politicians to guide Australia forward would be equally hard. These guys know that they are onto a good thing here and will do anything to maintain the status quo. Just look at the shameless nature of Obeid and his cronies. You think that federal politics is much better when dealing with sums of money far larger?

    • Fred says:

      07:07am | 20/11/12

      The irony of a labor politician whose party has neglected public transport in NSW for the best part of a generation, to tell us all to now get on our bikes.
      And with Albo being the typical NYMBY, he and his electorate will oppose any move to introduce cycle lanes through their streets.

    • tez says:

      04:36pm | 20/11/12

      And how many new rail lines did the previous NSW liberal governments build I think a little research may be required the NSW labour government built and started the building of the last 2 that I know of in Sydney Let me know if I am wrong Fred

    • Nathan Explosion says:

      07:14am | 20/11/12

      Maybe if you fixed up Melbourne’s public transport infrastructure, and made it more reliable, more people would use it.

      Metro are pretty awful, but I think they’re doing the best they can with tracks and overheads that should have been updated 30 years ago.

      Don’t blame Metro for Myki problems either, or ticket pricing - that’s all the State Government as well. I don’t know how they can justify the price increases when they can’t provide a reliable service.

    • FINK says:

      07:17am | 20/11/12

      Anthony,
      When you can offer an option that is quicker than driving then I may consider it.
      To dive to work takes me 8 minutes.
      To catch a bus takes 40 minutes (Bus goes every direction but straight)
      To catch a train is a 20 minute walk, wait for the late train and takes the same time as the bus in the end.
      I am not a dickhead so I won’t ride a bike.
      If you classified small motorcycles or scooters as similar to a bicycle and removed the outrageous rego and green slip charges I would consider that option.

    • Simon says:

      08:45am | 20/11/12

      I ride a bike because it is quicker than driving. More fun too.

    • Not a dickhead says:

      09:05am | 20/11/12

      “I’m not a dickhead so I won’t ride a bike”

      Dickhead.

    • FINK says:

      12:31pm | 20/11/12

      @ Not a dickhead,
      “Dickhead”

      Cyclist!

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      12:39pm | 20/11/12

      “I ride a bike because it is quicker than driving. More fun too.”

      I think you’re confusing bikes with the Light Cycles from Tron.

    • Jess says:

      01:40pm | 20/11/12

      Riding a bike would only be 20 minutes for you if the driving is 8 minutes.

    • Fewer cars is a good thing says:

      02:28pm | 20/11/12

      “I ride a bike because it is quicker than driving. More fun too.”

      ‘I think you’re confusing bikes with the Light Cycles from Tron”

      Numpty..
      My trip to work is about 20km.. Takes me 50 mins door to door by train… An hour door to door on my bike, because the route I ride is not as direct as the train.. I have never done it by car because I’d be stuck in the car park that is the M5, but I would guess it to take an hour & a half…
      Which do you think is better for my health & state of mind??

    • Alex says:

      07:50am | 20/11/12

      We still use our cars to get to work? goodness I wonder if that has anything to do with overpriced public transport, where driving to work is either cheaper, or the same price as catching a train, such as we have here in Briabane? Or perhaps it is the unwieldly Gocard system that is a pain in the backside? or perhaps it is the overcrowded trains due to lack of sufficient services? I honestly shudder to imagine catching a train in the morning or evening if everyone decided to ditch the car. It would be a nightmare.

      So heres an idea Mr Politician. Before you try to shovel the uneducated masses onto a train, or on to a bike on our overcrowded deathtrap roads, how about you lot get out of your govt supplied cars, give your driver the day off, and come and LOOK at why we choose to drive. The reasons are very obvious if you bothered to look. Or care.

    • anna says:

      09:24am | 20/11/12

      The go card is fantastic. Have you ever used it?

      I mean sure, occasionally it screws up and I get a fee which I have to fill in a form on the internet for, but it sure is more timesaving than having to buy tickets all the time.

    • Levi says:

      08:20am | 20/11/12

      How about we have a discussion on reducing the single biggest contributors to congestion, inflated property prices and increasing crime in Australia since the 1980’s - unplanned population growth and immigration? Because of a simple lack of planning by successive governments they are now telling us that we should get on our bikes, how about they lead by example?

      Increasing the efficiency and frequency of mass transit systems is the only real solution for cities as sprawling as ours.

    • Achmed says:

      08:21am | 20/11/12

      Up here in the north west of WA the question is asked “what is public transport?”  While we certainly dont have the congestion that the big cities have without public transport families have two cars as a minimum.  No other way to get around.
      We are now heading into the wet season, cyclones and monsoon rains, the temperatures are slowly rising and by Jan/Feb we will reguarly have 45-50+c.
      Ride a bike and risk heat exhaustion. 
      We pay our taxes yet the state govt, thats the govt that has responsibility, keeps building freeways etc while nothing is spent on people in the regions.

    • Len says:

      08:31am | 20/11/12

      Dont worry Albo, when you are officially sacked from australian politics this time next year by the australian voter, you will be able to see for yourself how difficult it is to get to and from work in a city like sydney. And i hope you dont try and bludge a lift with Carmels state funded car.

    • LC says:

      09:24am | 20/11/12

      Oh he will. He’s a politican, what do you expect? wink

    • George says:

      08:32am | 20/11/12

      If it wasn’t for the Sate Labor Govt in WA we would not have a public transport system.  Liberals closed the line between Perth and Fremantle, campaigned against Labor’s plan to build a railway to the northern suburbs, privatised the bus service and since coming to power have failed to ensure proper maintenance of the railway lines, failed to purchase more carriages to meet the growing demand, failed to meet an election promise of a rail line to Ellensbrook.
      One state Liberal Premier once stated “If they can’t afford a car they should stay home.”
      Thats the Liberal attitude to public transport.

    • Phil says:

      08:34am | 20/11/12

      “Here are three uncomfortable facts. Firstly, eight of ten commuting trips in Australia today are still undertaken by car.”
      - Nope its rather comfortable in my car, not to mention faster than public transport.

      “And finally, obesity has now overtaken tobacco as our greatest cause of preventable disease, costing us just short of $60 billion a year. I could add a further uncomfortable fact: Australia lags well behind most other OECD countries when it comes to embracing alternatives to the car.”

      - Yes because my driving to work 30 minutes* each way is much worse for my health than the 2+ hour return trip via the train where i, wait for it ... sit down and do nothing.
      At least with the extra hour a day (5 or more a week) im able to get other things done at home or go out for a run \ ride etc.
      Sadly being forced back on to trains due to the cost of city parking and tolls means I lose that 5-6 hours a week and there is no way id be able to ride it, not to mention the fact id probably be dead in 6 months given the way drivers hate cyclists!
      - we “lag” behind other countries when it comes to embracing alternatives to the car? well what alternatives to we really have? especially ones that are as suitable? I mean almost three times the travel time by public transport? forget it.

    • Steve says:

      08:45am | 20/11/12

      Colin,

      Don’t you think it should be up to the rider to put one on if they want.  If the rider was going on a main rode or going for a decent ride then I’m sure they would.  I would

      On the other hand if they’re just going for a cruise down to the park, or going to the shop why would you bother, I wouldn’t.

      Either way it should be up to the individual not the state.

      It would be interesting to see the stats on injuries from countries that aren’t police states and don’t require your hand to be held, and it would also be interesting to see the real stats from this country prior to and post helmet laws.

      Although I believe stats are a waste of time because they can be construed any way depending on your agenda, i believe the ratio of injuries to people actually riding wouldn’t have changed much at all.

      You have to wonder if the supposed benefits of wearing a helmet actually outweigh the probability that a lot more people would be outdoors, fitter and not so fat if they had a choice.  I’m pretty sure that national healthcare costs would come down a bit, people would be more productive and way happier by being a bit fitter and more social.

      Or you could just do what i do, and do what you think is right for you, but then most people have forgotten how to think for themselves nowadays

    • anthony of WA says:

      08:59am | 20/11/12

      Get on your bike mate!!

    • Chris says:

      09:02am | 20/11/12

      All you people in Western Sydney show quit yer bitching, I disinctly heard Gillard and Keneally giving the new NW rail link priority in 2010. You people aren’t trying to tell me that nothing has been done yet? Surely?

    • JA of Adelaide says:

      09:05am | 20/11/12

      I ride my bike as much as i can on a 14km ride into the city from the outer suburbs of Adelaide. The amount of times I have been cut off, yelled at, tailgated and nearly cleaned up as well as had a number of car doors open on me and knocking me off my bike is enough to make me not want to to do this. I hope you can change people’s attitudes. I am actually a reasonable cyclist who rides in the bike lane except when there are cars parked in it and i dont go through red lights or intersections illegally, which is the usual argument from car drivers about cyclists.
      When i catch public transport I am always late for work as it just can’t seem to run on time in Adelaide. Oh and when there isn’t repairs or upgrades happening and your train line is just stopped.
      I love to be eco, but until things are improved for cyclists and public transport users, i can’t see a way to escape having to use the car. I wish it weren’t so as I hate driving in my car.

    • George says:

      09:16am | 20/11/12

      Ok, you need to be turfed out of government. Yeah right. Riding a bike in Sydney peak hour? I don’t have a death wish.

      That $150bn or whatever you borrowed, well I like the NBN, but $100bn would have built a lot of trains. At $10bn each you probably could have built 10 train lines, 2 or 3 each for our biggest cities.

      Thanks for lying about being anti big Australia and exacerbating the traffic nightmare.

    • TimR says:

      09:17am | 20/11/12

      How about a government delivers affordable and reliable public transport to save our choking cities???
      I used to get the bus to work, but there’s only so many times I can put up with it not turning up.
      I politicians wonder why the public think they’re scum…

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      09:19am | 20/11/12

      At least in Adelaide the last thing we need is more bike riders!, I drive to work both because I can get a free park at my place of employment also I need it for my job so no more suffering buses for me!

      However that said with me driving more I have began to notice how stupid/arrogant many cyclists are, so many times they will zip around a parked car on the road not even bothering to check right to see if I am in the lane next to them or also when you get ahead of a bike rider indicate well before you need to turn left do they bother to slow down to let you turn? nope they just carry on. I am lucky to have the view that everyone on a bike is an idiot and tries to get hit I always plan ways to move over in my lane, get to the next turn off and so on because no matter what I do to avoid them it is always my fault according to the rules.

      Also yes I know not all bike riders are idiots it is just I have encountered far too many to dismiss.

    • Honesty is great, but... says:

      10:10am | 20/11/12

      Wait, the indicator is not a Moses switch - doesn’t part the sea. If a vehicle YOU have overtaken needs to then slow for you to turn in front of them then that is clearly an unsafe manourvre also known as ‘cutting someone off’. Would you do the same to any other vehicle? Maybe don’t answer than on the basis of incrimination. Ever thought of just turning left behind the cyclist???
      Indeed most cyclists are lucky to have the view that all motorists are idiots and trying to hit them with unsafe manouvres…
      Your fault according to the rules huh? Then why break them???

    • Disgruntled Goat says:

      11:21am | 20/11/12

      The reason I couldn’t turn left behind the cyclist is because it is peak hour and it would require I break to a full stop in bumper to bumper traffic that was moving at risk of causing a pile up, also this plays into paying attention to your surroundings if the traffic is flowing but piled up, a car has let you know their intention to turn with no way to stop and let you pass and your on a push-bike is it wise to just carry on? I could have been oblivious and knocked them over.

      as I said I had the sense to just give them the daggers and go to the next turn off but this still proves my point that many bike riders think they are in tanks

      Also I am re-reading the road rules in regards to this to see what is right and what applies to arterial roads.
      I personally firmly believe that push bike riders should give way to vehicles as they can both brake easier and all that is protecting the rider is a small frame and a stack hat and remember roads were built with cars and trucks in mind most recently have just painted a bike lane on them.

    • James Marsh says:

      11:33am | 20/11/12

      Passing a vehicle, including a cyclist, and then turning in front of it is dangerous and illegal. Learn the rules ya dope.

    • Stephen says:

      09:27am | 20/11/12

      Where do these buffoons live? On the moon?

      One limo, one poll…watch them in Canberra.

      Do as I say, not as I do…

      Comparing Australian cities to Europe, China or anywhere else is absurd. We are spread far and wide. Ride a bike with a briefcase? Get to work hot and sweaty, or drenched and freezing? How about taking some shopping home?

      You idiot, Albanese. Putting more bikes on the road will cause MORE chaos, not less. Bicycle riders already cause traffic congestion, endangering themselves and others. The piously believe that because they ride a bike, the world shop graciously thank them for it, and honour their commitment to health and fitness, as they crawl along at 20 km/h in a 60 km/h zone blocking at least one lane.

      Here in Adelaide we are about to be cursed with the next Tour Down Under. This event invokes all the Lance Armstrong wannabes (oops…Cadell Evans) to dust off their $4000 Italian hyper bikes (not seen during winter) and train hard for the event, on public roads. Regardless of traffic.

      “We’re keeping fit and healthy, nyah nyah…we’re in the Tour Down Under…we wear bright coloured lycra…”

      Bikes and cars dont mix, Anthony. A bit like Labour and Liberal. Just doesn’t work out, ya know?

      Australians have built cities around space. We need cars to navigate said space, in the absence of public transport service.

      How about you use your brains and get the bikes OFF the road. Perhaps on to purpose built cycle paths away from high volume traffic, where the commuters, health freaks and Tour de France competitors can only get in each others way.

      Leave those that choose to use cars to it.

      Hey, better idea…get out of our lives altogether. Let US decide what mode of transport we wish to employ.

    • Richard says:

      10:12am | 20/11/12

      Adelaide is one place you think would be bike friendly. It has nice wide streets and is reasonably compact. I grew up in Elizabeth which is 17 miles of the city . Decent public transport would also help which in the case of SA is no longer there.

    • Jonathan says:

      10:22am | 20/11/12

      There’s a lot of anger there, but I agree with building more cycle lanes.

    • Humpty says:

      10:29am | 20/11/12

      I agree, what we need to solve our transport problems is MORE CARS.

      MORE cars, I tell you.  Get those damn cyclists OFF the roads.  We want more cars, more congestion, more pollution and longer queues.

      The only way to achieve this is for more people to drive….

      It’s the only way…..

    • Modern Primitive says:

      11:14am | 20/11/12

      Humpty, the fact of the matter is that cars are a necessity for most of us. Until we stop listening to the nimbies and increase the density of our cities, bicycles and public transport only work for a vast minority.

    • Humpty says:

      12:07pm | 20/11/12

      I agree Mr Primitive, about cities needing to be more densely developed.  But the thing is that cycles will only ever be useful for a minority of people - tradies can’t carry much gear on a bike!

      But the point is, it only takes a few people to switch to bikes and it has a huge impact on commute times for everyone.  If only 5% of people cycled, you would make massive cost and time savings for everyone else that needs a car.

      In Australia, we keep adding cars to the road, we make it difficult for cyclists (look at the bogan comments on this website as examples)’ but if we could get just a fraction of commuters onto bikes, and a fraction to use public transport, and a fraction to walk, then the benefits to those that need their cars would be massive.

      For,every cyclist you pass on the way to work, that’s one car thats not queued up in front of you..?

      This is what I don’t get about anti-cycling people.  You overtake a bike, and comment that the rider is a dickhead….so, you would actually prefer if all those thousands of cyclists drove instead?  Adding hundreds more cars to your commute?  How does that make ANY sense?

      Sitting on the M2 yesterday ( in the car) I can assure you that the one thing I wasn’t thinking was “gee, it would be great if we could get more people to use their car…”

    • Kate says:

      12:25pm | 20/11/12

      @Modern Primitive - yes, cars are a necessity for MOST of us SOME of the time, but not for ALL of us ALL of the time. I get for some people that public transport/cycling just isn’t feasible or safe, and more investment needs to be made in this area.

      But just think, if everyone substituted one or two trips per week where they can (be it to work, the local shop, to a friends house), think of how much less traffic would be on the road for those people who truly don’t have another option.

      We are not as dependent on our cars as we think we are. Quite often a little bit of planning and a change of mindset are all you need to leave the car at home and try a new form of transport that will benefit the wider community.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      12:34pm | 20/11/12

      We’re a nation of fatties though, people don’t want to cycle. If you’re worried about congestion you’d be far better off trying to get them onto motorbikes and scooters. All of the benefits of bicycling and no downside such as blocking other traffic or being sweaty upon arrival.

    • Humpty says:

      01:17pm | 20/11/12

      No downside such as “blocking other traffic” like cyclists do…

      So, THAT’S what it is….

      Every time I’m stuck in the M2, or Harbour Bridge approach, or Southern Cross Drive, I had assumed it was all the cars causing the problems…..

      Now i know that it must be a cyclist up the front holding up all of Sydney’s motorways…..

      It’s funny that car drivers seem to think that cyclists are holding the traffic up, yet they are perfectly happy to overtake the cyclist, get annoyed for the ‘delay’ but then spend another 45 minutes queued behind other cars, without ever realising that its the CARS that are the delay.  When you are stuck in traffic, sitting still, just look around at what the major cause of delay is in city roads….

      My point is, if you could get some of theses people Out of their cars, YOUR overall trip time would be shorter…it’s pretty simple.  And with a bit of road courtesy, it would cost nothing!!  Literally NOT A CENT

      But it’s OK, we’ll just keep adding cars to the system and complaining about how that one cyclist made our 20km drive take 60 minutes….

    • Modern Primitive says:

      02:21pm | 20/11/12

      The problem with your idea Humpty is it relies on lots of people wanting to give up their cars and ride bicycles, something which they clearly don’t want to do. I’d rather drive than take a pushbike any day, know why? It’s far more convenient. And unless you live in the CBD or near public transport infrastructure, Id say it’d be the same for most australians. Why would you drive to the train station only to wait for a train when you could just drive to where you are going?

      But I ride a motorcycle, best of both worlds if you ask me.

    • Roberto says:

      09:28am | 20/11/12

      I support the push for better walking and cycling facilities. Recent research shows cities that have done this are much less congested than cities where cars rule. People who sling off at cycling need to do a bit of reading on transport issues and how cycling to work or to stations can really make a city much better. Not everyone is going to ride a bike, but you can’t deny it is a great transport option for a city,  just do a google on “Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Barcelona, bicycle.”

    • Troy Flynn says:

      12:44pm | 20/11/12

      Let me guess Roberto, they’re all flat cities.
      I went 35 years without a car. Now, I’ll never go back by choice.

    • K^2 says:

      09:34am | 20/11/12

      I used to live up in Central Qld, where I rode a cycle competitively.  Training rides were reasonable safe, the roads there having large shoulders on the side allowing plenty of safety and enough room for motorists to get past without having to squeeze by, also less traffic volume. 

      When I moved to Brisbane I started out riding in to work and kept at it for a few years.  What I noticed is that Brisbane has no shoulder on the road and so most of the time you are trying to stick as close to the gutter as you can.  Grated stormwater drains, and manholes mean that you are constantly swerving even more into the lane, either that or you are riding beside a line of parked cars, which has its dangers when some idiot flings his/her door open without having a look behind them first.  Cars are forced to squeeze past you, and buses and trucks actually have almost no lane room left to get past you without getting uncomfortably close.

      Having been a rider, and also being a motorist, I understand the reason cyclists and motorists both get frustrated.  The infrastructure does not really exist to allow safe cycling on the road in our large cities.  What we need is dedicated bikeways, not these pedestrian/bike shared paths they are completely pointless.  Large road shoulders and more road space is never going to happen, lets face it there just isnt the room for it.  I propose more bikeway networks running close to roads with direct routes to major points, and elevated bikeways where those ground level routes are not viable. 

      I stopped riding after several near death experiences.  I have had car doors open on me from parked cars, people backing out of driveways without looking, a lady in a 4WD actually reversed over me because she didn’t check her mirrors when I was sat right behind her (someone else had to knock on her window and tell her I was trapped under her car).  I’ve had bolts, firecrackers, fruit and veg thrown at me from moving vehicles - a bolt travelling at 60/70km/hr leaves a nasty scar I have proof.  Trucks and especially buses are psychopathic, and taxis are not much better in their attitude towards cyclists. 

      People need to see it from both sides, and throwing things at cyclists from moving vehicles should be a jailable offence. 

      Its really quite simple - someone on a pushbike has absolutely ZERO protection, even the foam helmet is pretty minimal.  A car/truck/bus can take a hit at 60km/hr and the occupants will walk away from it unscathed most of the time.  Get clipped on a bike by a car going at 60 and you’re in a world of hurt. 

      Just slow down, and take care on the road, cyclists would love to be on a dedicated road but thats not up to them.  Until councils start to make room for cyclists you just need to take a deep breath, wait 1 minute until you have room and give them a wide berth as you go around, its simple courtesy, and its just about making it as safe for the very vulnerable individual riding along in front of you. 

      Cyclists get yourself a helmet cam, honestly, it gives you some recourse when psycopaths attack.  If I had a helmet cam when that idiot threw a bolt at me, I could have caught them and they could have been properly punished for their behaviour.

    • LC says:

      09:40am | 20/11/12

      How is it up in your ivory tower Albanese?

      Want an insight into my world? I live in outer NW Melbourne, and work a few kays out of the CBD. There are no shower blocks where I work, so should I have to go and meet/work with a client, I’m going to smell awful, and that’s unprofessional. Not to mention I value my time to unwind after work, during which I could have a jog, go to a gym, play a videogame, catch up on sleep, or do something else, and I condiser that to be a part of a good work/life balance, and that is healthy. It’s bad enough when i take public transport (2-3 hours on average, losing out on time to unwind), it’ll be worse if i have to cycle. I’m sticking to my motorcycle, thank you very much. I don’t appreciate closet facists like you getting in the way of that, and I will vote accordingly.

    • LC says:

      10:29am | 20/11/12

      Now that I think about it, it might be a good idea to mention that I commute on a motorbike before anyone makes assumptions, not a car gas-guzzling or otherwise. Which is more than can be said about our good old author, and his limo trips to and from parliament paid for by you, the taxpayer.

      Do as I say not as I do eh, Albanese?

    • Tubesteak says:

      09:40am | 20/11/12

      It is illogical to expect me to ride a push bike in my suit, business shirt and tie. It won’t happen
      I cannot stuff it into a bag because crushed suits and shirts are not appropriate office attire
      I cannot turn my cubicle into a laundromat because that is unacceptable workplace behaviour
      I cannot turn up to work drenched in sweat because that is unacceptable workplace behaviour
      I cannot turn up to work soaked from the rain because that is unacceptable workplace behaviour
      I do not have showers at work nor can we expect workplaces to provide them nor are people going to line up every morning to use them nor am I going to leave for work hours before I have to just to get a place in the shower line so I can be at my desk by 8:30 as required by my employment contract
      The only saving grace in all of this is at least a helmet will not mess up my hair because I shave my head

      What needs to happen is for government to build more bus lanes, build more train lines, make more buses and make more trains. That way we will have a public transport system that suits the needs of commuters

      That is a far more realistic and workable solution than expecting people to get on bikes

    • Jonathan says:

      10:29am | 20/11/12

      But that doesn’t mean you should hinder people from riding bikes.  Every person on a bike frees up a seat on your bus/train, or takes a car off the road. 
      I agree we need more public transport, and if we combine this with safer cycling then everybody wins.

    • Ben C says:

      11:18am | 20/11/12

      @Jonathan

      “But that doesn’t mean you should hinder people from riding bikes.”

      I don’t remember Tubesteak ever making that statement.

      @ Tubesteak

      “What needs to happen is for government to build more bus lanes, build more train lines, make more buses and make more trains.”

      What we need is for Albo and his leader to fulfil their promise of funding the construction of the North West Rail Link, rather than pull it off the shelf once NSW became a Liberal-National state.

    • Economist says:

      11:52am | 20/11/12

      Yep totally agree it’s poor planning by government.

      New housing developments have roads so thin that buses can’t even navigate them. The nearest train station is a 30 minute drive.

      You don’t even need bus lane or more train lines you need better facilities at key areas and stations for example governments don’t even offer park and ride or ride your bike to the station for free express public transport. There is nor more three for free parking to reduce congestion. There is no understanding that parents have kids to pick up from school or day care. That public transport doesn’t even cut it.

      That new office developments don’t even provide nearby childcare facilities. Some housing developments don’t even provide for childcare or schools.

    • Tubesteak says:

      12:36pm | 20/11/12

      Jonathan
      As long as bike-riders don’t hinder the progression of motorised transport (typically by riding much slower than the rest of the traffic) then I don’t care what they do.

      Ben C
      We need more than just the north-west rail link. Not that it’s not necessary.

      Economist
      I hear what you’re saying, but our public transport is not up to demand. It has not kept pace with the extent of sprawl and adding more buses to our already congested roads will worsen the problem. We do need more roads for buses and more train lines with more train stations. We need to better service the community. This is the purpose of government and they are failing badly. Normally, I am a proponent of the free market but the free market will not offer this sort of service because there is little profit in it (free rider principle and market gaps).

    • PW says:

      03:36pm | 20/11/12

      “Yep totally agree it’s poor planning by government.

      New housing developments have roads so thin that buses can’t even navigate them. The nearest train station is a 30 minute drive.”

      Economist: You usually do better than this. If people didn’t purchase new homes miles away from transport they would soon cease to be offered for sale. However, this is where people want to live. Transport, especially rail, is way down the list of priorities. They accept their new home despite, or maybe even because of, its remoteness from the rail system, and all that that implies. Governments would put in the infrastructure if they were forced to (by people refusing to move into areas without it) but someone has to pay for it.

      The trouble is, having made the choice to live in an unserviced area, many then start lobbying for the infrastructure that they could have had in the first place by choosing to live in an appropriate area, and not only that they want someone else to pay for it.

    • PW says:

      03:43pm | 20/11/12

      “As long as bike-riders don’t hinder the progression of motorised transport (typically by riding much slower than the rest of the traffic) then I don’t care what they do.”

      Sometimes, for your own safety, you don’t have a choice but to slow others down.

      “What needs to happen is for government to build more bus lanes, build more train lines, make more buses and make more trains. That way we will have a public transport system that suits the needs of commuters

      That is a far more realistic and workable solution than expecting people to get on bikes”

      It’s neither realistic nor workable because no-one wants to pay for it. They want it to be supplied free of charge.

    • LC says:

      06:13pm | 20/11/12

      @ PW,

      You know that a house that’s close to decent public transport is going to cost several times more than a house in one of those estates? That’s why they are so popular. So how about those stuck in the outer suburbs and the housing estates due to the fact they cannot afford the high 6 to low 7 figure sum required to buy a house close to civilization? What should they do?

    • Brendan says:

      10:11am | 20/11/12

      So many whingers. I ride to work 4 out of 5 days. Monday i drive, and take my shirts and pants for the week with me. Leave them in the lockers. Take them home on my way home. Pretty simple stuff.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      01:00pm | 20/11/12

      I drive because I want to, also fairly simple.

    • pink says:

      06:02pm | 20/11/12

      Totally agree. Too many whingers! Most of them are probably overweight, grumpy and would have a heartattack if they worked up a sweat!
      Get the blood pumping grumpy bums, it will cheer you up. The idea for biking may not suit all, but for those who can why not?

    • Humpy says:

      10:33am | 20/11/12

      Well, with all those excuses you can just spend hours of your day sitting in traffic, surrounded by other people sitting in traffic, and you can all complain about how bad the traffic is, without ever noticing that YOU are the problem.

    • Kate says:

      11:22am | 20/11/12

      Hahaha well said!

    • Pushie Pedlar says:

      10:41am | 20/11/12

      I heard at a transport planning seminar that school holidays results in a 4% reduction of traffic flows. That 4% drop in the number of cars can mean a 25% drop in travel time. Imagine if we could get 4% of people to do something other than take there own car everyday. Thats 1 in every 25 single occupant car commuters changed to public transport, car pooling, bike or whatever. Incentives to businesses who provide change room facilities for bikes is one way.An example from California, they make businesses that provide free parking to inner city workers pay the market value of that parking to staff who don’t utilise it and car pool, use public transport or bikes instead. Many businesses found this was cost neutral as they were then able to rent spare spots created at market value. 
      I’m also loving the excuses, oh the melbourne winter, oh my smart clothes, oh the hills, oh the drivers out to kill cyclists. Obviously never tried cycling nor paid attention to how its done in many european and american cities with much harsher weather and often just as many hills as here. People have been capable of overcoming these obstacles since the day the bike was invented. If it wasn’t true bikes would have gone the way of the dinosaurs once the car was invented. To rattle them off is just proof you’re stubborn and unwilling to give it a go.
      Bad weather… thats why we have jackets, rain coats, gloves to stay warm and fenders to stop being splashed.
      Smart clothes… do you have a dry cleaner/landromat near work? the money you save on tickets, tolls, petrol can be used to have you clothes cleaned and pressed right near work, pannier bags can store clothes in a neatly folded state. Hell they even design business attire suitable for cycling in. (google Iva jean as one example).
      Hills… thats why bikes have gears, they also have ones with small electric motors now that’ll get you up even the steepest hill without over exertion. Drivers… find a route with less of them, google directions for bike and you’ll find little shortcuts and back routes you didn’t know existed despite driving past it for years. I did this the other day for my normal 27km commute through Sydneys Hills district. A commute i’d been doing by both car and bike for nearly 2 years. I found a short cut that removed 3 km of busy road and over 100 vertical metres of hill climbing. This trip is now 10 minutes faster on my bike than I could ever do it in the car. Wish i’d known about it years ago.
      Then theres the time and money saved on not needing to go to the gym to stay fit, not to mention the money saved on transport. With the petrol money I saved this year alone I could purchase a new bike, the same as the one I ride, each year and still be in front. 
      Once you’ve tried it then your excuses may well become reasons for not continuing but try it first. You don’t have to be Cadel Evans to ride your bike to the train station or work a few days a week.

    • Phil says:

      12:53pm | 20/11/12

      How about all those parents out there dropping little Timmy off to school as he cant walk 100m to catch a bus? Remove all of the people dropping their precious kids off at school and the commute in to work will be that little bit easier.
      While we are at it we should remove school zones, no need to reduce the speed of traffic during the peak hour crush, the smart kids who can look left and right will survive.

    • Troy Flynn says:

      01:37pm | 20/11/12

      @Phil: While we are at it we should remove school zones, no need to reduce the speed of traffic during the peak hour crush, the smart kids who can look left and right will survive.

      Damn straight Phil. What happened to teaching kids road safety. I was quite capable at the age of 8 to walk a few blocks alone to school and I had to cross Canterbury road to get there. Never had a problem. Most school zones have massive fencing along the road at the school to stop the “Darwin Award Nominees” (kids) from getting into the awards anyway.

    • NikRaf of Victoria says:

      10:49am | 20/11/12

      Anthony Albanese use the Internet and stop wasting Tax-payers money on junkets in Australia and over seas that will cut down on chocking the roads

      but the roads in Australia are designed to make bottle necks , which no political party will do any thing to fix so things are right

    • Troy Flynn says:

      01:50pm | 20/11/12

      Agreed. Here in NSW we had this thing called Epping Rd. It used to be 2-3 lanes wide before our state gov’t decided that they wanted to have a tunnel built as another means of directing traffic into the CBD.
      But of course the contract with the private operator was written so that Epping Rd now consists of one lane each way and a 24hr bus lane with 3 speed camera’s on it. This was done to funnel people into the toll tunnel to boost the profits of the private operator. Needless to say I never use it.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      11:12am | 20/11/12

      A study in Belgium showed a +30% decrease in commute time for all vehicles if just 10% of the vehicles on the road were powered 2 wheelers (scooters and motorcycles.) Wouldn’t it make sense to encourage these and make more efficient use of existing infrastructure?

      Scooters are also fantastically cheap to run.

    • Admiral Ackbar says:

      01:20pm | 20/11/12

      I experience a significant decrease in commute time when no bicycles get in my way wink

    • BJA says:

      01:47pm | 20/11/12

      Admiral Ackbar says:01:20pm | 20/11/12

      Don’t believe this guy, its a trap.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      02:24pm | 20/11/12

      Agreed admiral, it annoys me no end when you have to wait to get into the next lane to overtake some idiot who thinks its ok to ride a children’s toy on a main road in peak hour.

    • ronny jonny says:

      04:24pm | 20/11/12

      What a bout the huge increase in middle aged men and fat women wearing lycra? It would be a nightmare! Oh, the humanity!

    • Chopper knows says:

      11:13am | 20/11/12

      Australian roads are not designed for cyclists. It is just plain dangerous. China use to have the biggest amount of cyclists in the world but due to their new found wealth, the growing middle class are migrating to cars with the biggest amount of new cars on the road every day. We sound like we are going backwards to the bicycles and china forward to the cars. So how do we deal with the growing amount of cars like china has? We copy the Japanese method. With Japan being a fraction the size of Australia and 5 times the population and relative incongested roadways, we find out how their road traffic engineers setup and manage their infrastructure and try and learn something. Hire a few Japanese traffic engineers, bring them to australia, pay them the money, give them a house and let them study and plan a road infrastructure that can work for us. Because obviously our road traffic engineers are incompetant.

    • Bruno says:

      11:43am | 20/11/12

      So basically you’re telling us that there is no plans to upgrade our infrastructure. Where’s all the money going?

      Your solution to our past and present state and national governments poor infrastructure planning and spending is to get about like my ancestors. What next I’m supposed to hunt for my food.

      Also if you spent our money wiser…...You want me to travel from out west on my mountain bike on the cumberland highway and west pennant hills road, are you nuts? Who cares what they do in whatever other country just fix the bloody thing, thats your job, not to offer up alternatives.

      Obesity is a big problem not only because obese people are lazy eaters, but because in this country most positive contributers to society spend most of their lives working and travelling to and from work because of the cost of living in the lucky country. Most don’t exercise because heaven forbid we wish to spend the remaining time with our families.

    • humpty says:

      11:51am | 20/11/12

      Umm,  I think you’ll find that a huge part of Japan’s travel solution was getting more people to cycle.

      Currently, 15% of commute traffic in Japan is by bicycle, whilst in Australia it’s only 1% (or thereabouts). 

      Imagine the benefits to your travel time to work if 15% of the people along the roads you drive along we’re on bikes, thereby taking thousands of cars off the road.

      Oh, And Australian roads where actually designed for cyclists, pedestrians and horses - many city streets where occupied by cycles, trams and horses for decades before cars where in common use.  The obvious exception being new motorways. But the majority of city streets where planned and laid down LONG before cars where the primary form of transport.

    • Marty says:

      12:35pm | 20/11/12

      When will it get through to these supposed intellectuals that we do not live in Europe or Hong Kong?  Our cities did not grow from horse tracks and walking paths!  We are all spread out with the majority having to travel some distance to and from work, why do we persist with this idea that we can all get around using bicycles and public transport, it’s just not going to happen without some major rethinking of transport infrastructure.  In Melbourne, the CDB is littered with uber-tram stops, bus lanes, high parking fees and malls that a no go area for cars, all this is supposed discourage the use of the car while business are encouraged to centralise in the CDB - great idea, reduce the ability to access CDB while increasing the number that need to get there.  When will the realisation come that we need another solution than ‘ride a bike’ or ‘catch a tram/train’. 
      If we want to ease congestion maybe we should encourage business to decentralise and create smaller multiple suburban offices and use the available internet/telecom technologies to interconnect these offices.  If a business want’s the prestige of having a CDB address, have a smaller office in the CDB with the majority of the personnel in the suburban offices – doing this would probably be more cost effective than a single larger central office with car spaces for the managers and sales staff, while providing a better travel options for the majority.

    • James Marsh says:

      01:16pm | 20/11/12

      5 times you typed CDB so I have to assume you really believe that this is the correct acronym and it wasn’t just a typo. This immediately undermines any point you are trying to make.

    • Marty says:

      01:49pm | 20/11/12

      James Marsh,
      Maybe I’m dyslexic.

    • Colin says:

      03:51pm | 20/11/12

      @ Marty

      “Our cities did not grow from horse tracks and walking paths!”

      Er, well, Sydney did as a matter of fact…Most of the city streets can be traced back to their original First Settler paths…

    • Amac says:

      01:07pm | 20/11/12

      Licensed and insured first!
      There is no way you would have orderly traffic *(see image used above) if you replaced cars with bikes.  It’s a nightmare now as bikes weave in and out, cut corners, use pedestrian walkways and sneak through traffic lights.

      How would I cut unnecessary car usage in the city?
      First I would double bus and train services then I would double rego to pay for it . Only exemption would be if you were driving to your nearest public transport car park or if your occupation required you to drive such as tradies, real estate agents etc.

    • Richard says:

      01:41pm | 20/11/12

      Amac I gather your increased rego fees would only be for the Metropolitan areas and not Rural areas as you are probably aware there is no public transport in most rural areas.

    • Chris says:

      01:34pm | 20/11/12

      I don’t agree with much this government says, but Albanese is spot on. All you people bagging him and clinging to your cars will be moaning ceaselessly as petrol prices continue to climb, insurance premiums skyrocket, registration and rates bills skyrocket to maintain roads and pay for the death toll caused by bad drivers…
      The solution is simple. Make the CBD of all our major cities a toll area. Want to travel into the CBD? You pay for it. Drop the price of public transport, drop the salary sacrifice options for novated leasing of motor vehicles, and bam, our congestion problem will disappear.

    • Jess says:

      02:11pm | 20/11/12

      Cycling walking and public transport is never going to be suitable for everyone at all times no one is debating that.

      I read on another forum the the target groups for cycling are those who live within 10 kms of their workplace/business and don’t do the young children drop off and pick up.  It’s not too strenous so you don’t get sweaty and gross and it takes about a maxium of 1/2 an hour to get to work.

      I us cycle or walk to work but then I only live 4 kms from work and have bike paths to work after leaving my suburbs.

 

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