Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Silly journeys

If you wish to increase the number of trips taken by bike rather than car, you need to make cycling the easiest, most convenient and most pleasant method of transport for those trips. A carrot and stick approach in other words. Simply making it difficult and costly to drive doesn't help. Neither does preaching about how great it is to ride a bike. It's even less helpful if you do your preaching while wearing lycra pants and a yellow flourescent top. It is very distracting.

Having said that, there are some car journeys that require a mention. I pass a shopping centre on my way home each day. There are similar ones right across metropolitan Adelaide. This one is on North East Road at Collinswood. It has two parts to it. The first includes the IGA supermarket, a hairdresser, a pharmacist and a cool film buff shop among others:

You then cross this road:

and reach the other side with the pizza shop, butcher, chicken shop and Asian takeaway:

You can't see the bike racks in these photos - because they're aren't any.

There are two types of customer to the shopping centre. There are those who stop off on their way home from work while travelling along North East Road and then there are locals who jump in the car on a Sunday morning in their ugg boots and pyjamas to drive round the corner to buy some milk and the Sunday paper. It is very convenient to do so because as you see in the pictures, there is a great big free car park out the front. It is a quick journey because none of the roads to the shops are blocked. Not long ago the local council suggested blocking a few of the roads to limit drivers using them as thoroughfares but that was swiftly stopped because it apparently would have harmed local businesses. I'm not sure how but there you are. Instead, the council made some additions to about two of the roads. One had speed bumps added and another had these chicane things added:

They slow cars down a bit but do not really encourage cycling. You have to stop and wait for cars coming the opposite way or trust that they have seen you. You can avoid them completely by riding to the side but you have to dodge the bollards and the big hole in the ground.

Back to the shopping centre. When I went the other day, I saw two people use their cars to drive from one side to the other. They were ablo-bodied people too. One of them was parked in front of the pharmacy and drove to the chicken shop - a distance of about 15m. Understandable because you just drive from one big free car park to another.

In Malmö in Sweden a while ago, there was a campaign called "No More Ridiculous Car Journeys". People were invited to write down a description of their short car trip and go in a draw to win a new bike. They must be doing something right. They have a modal share of 30%. It is of course not just because of that single campaign. Malmö has the necessary facilities too. Easy when you know how.


  1. Not to mention that the IGA supermarket is FREEEEEZING they are blowing a hole in the ozone with their refridgeration!

    That shopping centre and my local at Campbelltown should be blown up! They are an aweful relic of the 1960s.

  2. They're not the prettiest buildings are they? You really have to wonder what they were thinking.