Look abroad for inspiration to build a vibrant city cycling culture.

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Incongruous: this aint no genuine hipster.

Here’s a reminder of why we should be looking beyond Australia for inspiration for growing a cycling culture. This is the kind of imagery you get when you have a country that, like New Zealand,

1. has a compulsory helmet law and,

2. is dominated by sports cycling.

When we see this kind of marketing, it becomes abundantly clear that it will not be the bicycle industry that will be leading the way towards a cyclised city. What’s even more disappointing is that the image comes from Smith Journal; a publication that promotes itself as something “for curious minds and offbeat thinkers”.

The creation of a vibrant cycling culture is achieved by deliberate and well considered government policies backed up by substantial infrastructural and marketing investment. It doesn’t happen by chance.

This is not to suggest that we don’t look to Australia for inspiration. We need to look everywhere for ideas of how to do it, and how not to do it. It’s quite likely that everything about the European model will not translate directly into New Zealand. I have also heard it argued that the European model is too ‘foreign’ for New Zealand tastes. But you only have to look at the transformation in New Zealand cafe culture over the past decades to see that change for the better is possible.  We want to show and be shown what is possible, and discover the steps that were taken to make it possible.

The creation of a vibrant cycling culture is achieved by deliberate and well considered government policies backed up by substantial infrastructural and marketing investment. It doesn’t happen by chance. If cycling is to be accepted by the wider non-cycling public as an essential and valuable part of a city’s transport mix, politicians and the non-cycling public need to be convinced of the merits of investing in #wheeledpedestrian cycling. That’s why the message needs to be spot on.

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

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2 comments

  1. There is no point looking to Australia for a cycling culture: ours is rubbish. It’s getting better, though. There’s a lot of utility cycling going on in the city and I’m seeing more of it happening in the outer suburbs where I live, although it’s still seen as a pretty abnormal thing to do. Change is possible, but it’s going to take a loooong time!

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