The 2017 Australian Walking and Cycling Conference is over for another year and Bike SA’s Gold Sponsor support of the event was again justified thanks to some standout thinking from participants.
With the theme ‘low tech movement in a high tech world’, the two-day affair mirrored much of what we see overseas with bike share a major focus, the latest in road safety research coming to light and some inspiration from our brothers and sisters in Sydney.
Elliot Fishman is one of Australia’s leading experts on bike share schemes across the world and has done some work for the Adelaide City Council in how their approach towards a bike share system might function.
Aside from the bike share’s extraordinary growth, as a form of urban transport, in China (Alibaba having just announced a $700million investment in one particular operator), there was some very pertinent information for Adelaide to think about if we want to ensure that our bikes get at a minimum daily hire rates of between 3 and 4 per day.
Naturally, in Australia, whenever the term bike share is mentioned, the operational constraint of mandatory helmet legislation is never far behind in the conversation.
Adelaide local, Sundance Bilson-Thompson, provided a very interesting data view of the public health benefits of encouraging more people cycling through a relaxation of mandatory helmet legislation against the cost of poor health outcomes due to our epidemic of low rates of physical activity.
Jess Miller, a Councillor on the Sydney City Council and behaviour change Program Director at Republic of Everyone, gave a sweeping view of the success that SCC has had in getting their mode share of cycling up, up and up.
And while the City has previously been at odds with the now ex-Transport Minister Gay (who famously ripped up the College St separated bikeway), there seems to be a greater alignment between state and the City on a more integrated transport approach that places a higher value on active mobility than was the case before.
This year, the latest in safety research was delivered by Dr Ben Beck from Monash University, with an examination in the nature of injury types, causal relationships of injuries and some meaty facts on the detail of hospital admissions and the duration of post accident return to work and pre-accident levels of life mobility.
Not surprisingly, cyclists that suffer an injury requiring hospitalization recover far quicker than patients that do not ride. Yet another serendipitous health benefit of cycling for our population, leaving aside the cause!
What was really pleasing this year was the breadth of solid, international level practice within the Australian cycling sector. Next year’s conference is scheduled to take place in Bendigo, a city that continues to prove itself as one of our country’s truly cycle friendly cities.