Many people may be surprised to learn that only 3% of people currently cycle to work in Canberra, although we have a very active and engaged cycling community. When it comes to getting to and from work, we Canberrans remain committed to our cars.
There is overwhelming evidence that when people switch their regular mode of travel from car to bike it has an extraordinary impact on their individual health and longevity, and that having more people riding bikes, more often, can greatly improve overall population health.
The ACT government has set a strong active travel target of 7% of people commuting to work by bike by 2026. Despite improvements in cycling infrastructure and community engagement programs, the percentage of people using bikes to commute to work has barely shifted over time. It has increased by only 0.8 of a percentage point over 35 years, so at this rate of change we won’t reach our 7% target until 2096!
Our community just can’t afford to wait this long – It’s important for our health, and our environment. Transport is a key contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the ACT, so if we are to reach our target of net zero emissions by 2050, we need to get more people out of cars and onto more sustainable forms of transport.
As part of Canberra Walk and Ride Week, Pedal Power is talking to experts and the community about how we can make it easier to ride a bike to work in Canberra. We’ve been chatting to people on the streets and paths about some of the challenges from workplace shower facilities to the logistics of balancing travel with family commitments. We've also been getting feedback from participants in our Cycle Works ride-to-work program about their ideas and tips for a successful commute, from clothing ideas to route planning.
We understand that to reach our 7% target we need a clear strategy, and community leadership. With that in mind we are hosting a special event for Canberra Walk and Ride Week - 3 steps of 7%. Experts in the fields of health, transport planning, education and psychology will put forward their top three actions to boost the number of people commuting by bike, and hear ideas from people attending. Panellists include Mr Tony Stubbs (Heart Foundation); Dr Anthony Burton (Anthony Burton and Associates); Associate Professor Richard Keegan (University of Canberra); Ms Raynie McNee (Cycle Education) and ACT MLAs Caroline Le Couteur and Bec Cody. The event will be held next Wednesday 28 March from 6 – 8 pm at the Loft, Upstairs at the Duxton in O’Connor.
Join us at the event and be part of the the conversation about how we can make Canberra a more bike friendly city. To rsvp email firstname.lastname@example.org