Friday, 9 March 2018

250,000 people on bikes

Today I rode past the bikeway bicycle counter again. (See January's post)

bicycle counter on Brisbane's Bicentennial Bikeway in March 2018

Just over 2 months, and we've had a quarter of a million people on bikes - just on this particular piece of bikeway.

Looks like we'll pass a million by year's end.

How many do you think it will be?
Put your guess in the comments and we'll see who gets the closest.

Friday, 26 January 2018

How many bicycles?

Late last year the city council installed this bicycle and pedestrian counter on my local bikeway.

I especially like the little logos. It makes it feel like a sports competition. How active and healthy can Brisbane be?

Bicycle counter on Brisbane's Bicentennial Bikeway

I took this photo today, 26 January. There have been more than 100,000 people on bikes go past the point in less than a month. Exciting to know that the bikeway is so well used.

PS. See the March update.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Where can people go?

Saw this great illustration of how much cars dominate our public places.

The caption is spot on - "cities feel a lot less welcoming when you highlight the areas pedestrians aren't supposed to go like this".


Was talking to a person last night who has lived overseas where human beings are cars share the road more equally.

I wonder if the difference is due to our culture of cars.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Faster than 300 cars

My wife and I left the game on our bikes. There are only two roads out of the South Pine Sports Complex and this was probably the biggest game ever held there.

Traffic to go home was at a standstill. The start of the dotted blue line is where we decided that wasn't for us. Part of the joy of being car free is never having to be in traffic jams. So we went on the grass path. It later became a concrete path, then a bikelane.

I reckon we passed 300 cars. Sometimes they moved slower than walking-pace. Mostly they didn't move at all.


At the red marker the queue meets a major road and each cycle the traffic lights allow about seven cars through.

So if we did pass 300 cars, the ones at the back of the queue would have waited for 43 cycles of traffic lights.

By this time, my wife and I had cycled to the train station and were most of the way home.

Sometimes people ask if I miss the "convenience" of a car.
Not if "convenience" means waiting for 43 cycles of the traffic lights.

PS. The map above shows the travel time assuming you are walking. This traffic was going much slower than walking pace, so I reckon the time was more like 40 minutes to 1 hour for that 1.7km.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Congestion-busting

The council in my city is trying to reduce traffic congestion. In their latest newsletter to residents they boasted of the results over the last six months.

The morning peak average speed increased from 27.8 km/h to 28.9 km/h.

Whoop-de-do! For a 10 km commute, that means a daily saving of 49 seconds on a 22-minute journey. Barely noticeable.

Meanwhile I can go 25 km/h on my bicycle and fitter people go quicker than that. Hardly seems worth having a car, really.

Here's a congestion-busting idea. Leave the car at home. Often a bicycle is quicker (and more enjoyable). Or catch public transport and free up the roads for everyone.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

The day I got a death threat at work

I am fortunate. Part of my job is to promote sustainability and environmentally friendly activities. In a team meeting I mentioned the worldwide activity known as PARKing Day.

PARKing Day is one day a year where community groups and others temporarily transform a metered car space into an alternate use. Sometimes it's a mini-park, with fake grass and deck chairs. Sometimes it's a mini coffee shop. I've even seen a mini-golf set-up and an op-shop for second-hand clothing. It's a great way to highlight how much of our city is consumed by parking and how many other things could be done with that space if we were less car dependent. The activity is legal, paid for and has local council approval.

playing checkers on PARKing Day

In the meeting I gave the op-shop example. A colleague said that if she saw an op-shop in a car parking space, she'd drive over the shop and anyone in it. As a supporter of the event and possible attendee I tried to look for other ways to take this - other than as a threat on my life.

My colleague is not evil. As far as I know, she doesn't generally threaten to kill people. But that's part of the effect of spending time behind the wheel. When I had a car, driving in traffic could often make me quite agitated and sometimes aggressive towards other drivers. This was part of the reason I gave up driving.

If something turns you into an aggressive and hostile person, the sensible thing is to give up that thing. I choose my character, my faith and my humanity over having a car. Clearly not everyone is in a position to make that choice, so we get situations like this.

It seems when a person spends enough time behind the wheel, they view the car almost as an extension of theirself. They see a parking space as some sort of birthright that the rest of the world owes them. Wherever they go, even in the busy areas, they have an expectation that room must be made for them and for their two tonnes of metal.

Is this why we sometimes talk about car "addiction"? People acting like desperate drug addicts when they don't get their fix. Unable to imagine an existence without the thing they crave.

As humans we generally say that we love other people - or at least like them enough not to kill them. It seems that driving a car takes us far away from that ideal.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Repairing the bank balance

Some people can't even comprehend being car free. Others do get it, and are slightly jealous.

"Yeah. You must save heaps - not having to buy petrol," someone said to me recently.

Well yes I do but that's only a fraction of it. In a recent cleanout I found an old bank statement from my car-owning days.


Yes. Car repairs for $3033.62. Even ten years on, my first reaction is "Ouch!". It's one of the things we don't factor into the cost of having a car. But it's a real cost. On the bank statement it's very real.

My second reaction is gratitude in realising how many years I've avoided these unexpected surprises. Just another benefit of being car free.

PS. Other car costs include depreciation (buying a car for $20k and selling it for $10k), lost interest (that $20k could have been in the bank earning interest), car registration, car insurance, car repairs and car maintenance. Depending on how you drive, there may also be speeding fines and parking tickets. So yes I save on fuel, but there's so much more than that.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Love cars, love traffic jams

Sure I've shown a picture like this before, but this one's different.


It's the first one I've seen that includes bicycles, buses and light rail.

Surely it's obvious to everyone that unless traffic jams are something we enjoy, then bicycles and public transport are by far the best options.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Where does "Jaywalking" come from?

I like this video about how cars took over the streets. Learn where the phrase jaywalking comes from and how clever marketing strategy from car makers changed the way we think.


The end line is classic... "Thank you for granting us passage, Metal Majesty."

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The poor woman

I've certainly felt like this at times. The smug pedestrian (or bike rider) cruising past a traffic jam.


Thursdays in my neighbourhood are particularly bad for drivers. Our city has late night shopping on Thursdays, so commuter traffic and shopping traffic add together.

In a logical world some of the regular drivers would work this out and take public transport on a Thursday - or ride or walk if it's a short distance. But people tend to stick to habits even if it means sitting in traffic for much longer than other forms of transport would take.

Of course the poor woman in the cartoon is also doing for for her physical and mental health.