Month: March 2014

Prime Minister John Key: Ambassador for Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling?

John Key, New Zealand Prime Minister, modelling Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling

John Key, Prime Minister of New Zealand . A potential candidate for the role of ambassador for Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling.

Dear Prime Minister,

This photo of you riding a bicycle in The Hague has come to our attention at Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling. It captures the essence of the cycling that this site is trying to promote. Would you be willing to share that experience with us?

As you are probably aware, The Dutch are recognised as World leaders in achieving high rates of daily cycling. In contrast, cycling does not enjoy the same support or positive public perception in New Zealand. One of the key issues that we have identified is that cycling in New Zealand is largely perceived as a sporting and recreational activity only.

Ultimately, what we are looking for, is a person with a high profile like yourself who would be willing to be an Ambassador for Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling. We would really appreciate it if you would give serious consideration to this request.

Regards,

Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bike’ is everyday activity. No sweat.

 

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“Projecting an Envelope of Danger”.

 

Cars project an envelope of danger by their mere presence.  The noise and pollution they produce crushes the quality of life in our communities.

But wait, there’s more.

Even though the social harm caused by traffic is largely invisible, the negative impact it has on communities is enormous. High levels of traffic on your street reduces the ability to build strong communities.

But that’s not all.

It’s these invisible harms that motorists are largely unaware of when they drive. They need to be made aware that, how they drive affects the people around them. But don’t take my word for it, watch the Streetfilms video and see how these conclusions were reached.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: TwitterFacebookFlickr.

 

Telling Stories.

The Ninja Princess returns home from combat.

The Ninja Princess returns home from combat.

“You just tell stories”, said the engineer to the teacher. The implication being, that data and diggers are mightier than the narrative as a means of getting people out of cars and on to bikes. It was an insightful and valuable interaction. I have never swayed from the idea that we need better stories. Pictures tell even better stories. And it seems to be inherently limiting to focus only on cycling. The discussion needs to be broadened to include issues such as healthy communities, transport equity and how to campaign effectively to achieve those goals. That’s the purpose of this site. To provoke, engage, share, discuss, implement, learn, empower. So move over cyclists, there’s a story to be told.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s my story. 😉

The winter sports season is fast approaching and weekly trainings have started in earnest. And fortune has it that the Ninja Princess is having her training sessions at the local park. Which makes it the perfect distance for a Wheeled Pedestrian. Too slow to walk but close enough not to need the car. It’s a father’s dream. 15 minutes of 1 on 1 time with a teenage daughter. And of course, the 15 minutes got stretched out to 30 minutes by the time we stopped along the way to speculate on the progress being made on the nearby construction site. Priceless.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: TwitterFacebookFlickr.

Hello and welcome to Wheeled Pedestrian Cycling.

A great city is one where the focus is on moving people, not cars.

A great city is one where the focus is on moving people, not cars.

This site has been created as a place to document the rise, both locally and internationally, of mainstream bicycle culture via words, photographs. Why? Because I dream of living and working in a vibrant, sustainable city. This website is intended to contribute to achieving that dream. But it’s about more than just cycling.

Auckland has a great natural environment. But it is failing in the livability, mobility and sustainability stakes. Improvements in those areas are sporadic and glacial and with a business as usual approach, we face little chance of enjoying a cycling friendly city within our lifetimes.

The good news is that there are cities around the world that are modelling this new vision for us. There are also individuals and organisations around the world that are modelling how to achieve this vision. This site will be a place to disseminate the wealth of information and ideas in a digestible form about thriving, people-centred cities to an intelligent, non-cycling public.

I am also hoping that this site will be the beginning of something much bigger. I want it to be used as a way of engaging with a wider audience, to provoke conversations and to educate. I want to get a conversation going that a wider range of people can get involved in. There is a lot of expertise readily available but I would like to see it broken down into manageable bits and presented in a way that ‘non-experts’ can get excited about and feel inspired to join in. You don’t need to be a traffic engineer to know that it is often difficult and dangerous to cross the street or, there is a lack of suitable parking for your bicycle outside your local pool.

From there, I hope that this site will be a source of inspiration to provide direction for future campaigning options in the wider community. Ultimately, I want it to lead on to a campaigning focus; to get local people to connect and see ways that they can make their local community better for people (in general), not just cycling. The ultimate prize to come from this would be the creation of a full-time paid advocacy organisation like this.

Up until now, the media have been given a ‘free’ pass. The media need to be provided with opportunities to see cycling in a different light. The public and media need to see images like this and this. In order to do this, better storytelling needs to come to the fore; to convey compelling ideas to an increasingly expectant audience.

So it is safe for you to assume that this site will not be encouraging you to ‘claim the lane’, to wear a helmet correctly or encouraging you to stay safe by wearing ‘hi-viz’. That would just be encouraging you to enter into an arms race that we all know, can’t be won. So rather than just focussing on ‘more and better cycle paths’, it’s time to start addressing the need to ‘humanise our cities’.

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat. As easy as walking, but faster.

Get involved via: TwitterFacebookFlickr.