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You are invited to share your own wheeled pedestrian story.

Calling all Wheeled Pedestrians! How are you doing? I’ve decided to, figuratively speaking, lick my finger and hold it up to the breeze to try and get a gauge on how things are progressing. So I’ve decided to throw out an invitation, both here in New Zealand and abroad, to anyone who embraces the ‘wheeled pedestrian’ philosophy.

If you’ve got a story to tell and would like to inspire and/or educate others, here’s your chance. Send it to me and I will publish it on this site.

If you’re interested or a little bit curious, read on…

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

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Opinion: Bixi benefits far outweigh the costs

The benefits of a public bicycle share scheme are enormous. The challenge of selling it to the public are also enormous.

Montreal Gazette

From an outsider’s perspective, the agonizing over the Bixi bicycle sharing service’s financial situation sounds familiar. The rhetoric here is that the international ventures of the scheme have been an expensive disaster.

Yes, lessons are to be learned from the business model that saw the Société de vélo en libre-service file for bankruptcy at the start of this year, but as Bixis are pulled off the streets for another winter and Mayor Denis Coderre is expected to make an announcement next week about Bixi’s fate, Montrealers should be reassured that foreign experience shows it to be a worthwhile enterprise.

Until just a few months ago, I lived in London, where I worked for Transport for London. I was part of the Cycle Hire team, the London Bixi called the Boris Bikes (after Mayor Boris Johnson). Later, I worked developing the transport strategy for the Surface Transport division, where I focused on cycling.

When London bought the…

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Shifting perceptions: From cycling, to riding a bicycle.

Based on this guys attire, I figure he must be a construction worker.

Based on this guy’s attire, I figure he must be a construction worker.

Everyday I am reminded that a normalised version of cycling is a long way from being realised. I know this to be true because colleagues, friends and even members of my extended family still define me and refer to me as a ‘cyclist’ in a way they would refer to a Tour de France cyclist. For example, a colleague offered me some cycling shirts the other day. The stretchy, highly advertised ones that you wear with lycra shorts when riding fast on a bicycle that weighs less than 100 grams. He thought I would have a use for them. Because I’m a cyclist.

I also get, ‘where’s your hi-viz vest?’ Or, ‘are you doing the Taupo ride this year?’

If random people were asked to draw a picture or describe in words their version of a cyclist, I reckon the sports/recreational/vehicularist version would be the most common response.

My teaching colleagues talk in terms of cyclists being two-wheeled versions of motor vehicles. They teach children about cycle safety but ignore the fact that knowing how to secure a helmet correctly or how to do a hand signal on a school field will not slow down motorists or convince parents that riding a bicycle to school is a safe option.

There’s a rule of thumb in the teaching business that says when you are trying to modify a particular behaviour, you need to provide as many as ten positive statements before making a corrective statement. The positive statements help build up a strong relationship that then allows you to nudge the behaviour into the direction you want it go.

It’s this kind of thinking that needs to be applied to changing people’s perception of cycling. The public are the target that need to be nudged into seeing cycling as something that is a normal, everyday activity. Imagery and words matter.

Efforts at growing ‘everyday’ cycling seem directed at current cyclists and seem to assume that the non-cycling public are already aware that cycling is an easy and functional transport tool, well suited to short journeys. I say, assume nothing.

Presenting the general public with models and imagery of wheeled pedestrian style cycling will also have the impact of decreasing public resistance to the building of the necessary infrastructure like cycle ways, or introducing supportive transport policies like slowing traffic down.

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

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