Saturday, 3 November 2012


I was in Melbourne just the other day for a whirlwind trip with my lovely wife. We went to see the Australian Ballet's 50th birthday gala - absolutely spectacular!

But back to matters more mundane, one thing struck me and it was to do with marketing. If you read bicycle blogs regularly, as I do, a conversation with cycling will go something like this:



Despite all of that, it is surprising how much (or little) 'normal' people know. I mistakenly assume that everyone watches Anna Pihl and Lulu the Bankrobber's Wife on SBS and not only see footage of raised, Danish-style bike lanes on TV but notice them too. Obviously my dear wife is not one of them.

We were walking along Swanston Street near what I later found out were new tram 'superstops'. There's some information about them on Daniel Bowen's blog and on the Bicycle Network Victoria website (where you'll find both the pictures below). The stops are raised and longer than your normal tram stop. When walked past them, we noticed the extra stripey bit that nobody seemed to be standing on:

You work out very quickly what it's all about when the next wave of bicycles pass through - and while we were there, it really was a wave. My wife said that the raised lane would ensure that motorists do not drive on it. She thought it was a brilliant idea. I must say I was quite disappointed that after all of my lecturing she still didn't realise that is what they do in Denmark.

In addition to the sort of infrastructure that has been shown to encourage a change of transport for some journeys, using a bicycle could do with a bit of decent marketing in this country. Regrettably, the Dutch masters have been way too modest for way too long. They have finally started the Dutch Cycling Embassy that has some useful information. But, just as an example, the CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic has been around for a while now but hardly anyone knows about it.

Our Danish friends are pretty good at marketing as the video below shows. In addition to building their famous raised bike lanes, they have adopted a number of measures to make the life of people who get around by bicycle a bit more pleasant. They include footrests, special cargobike parking, the ubiquitous raised lanes, new greenways, new bridges, the famous 'green wave and even handing out chocolates by the karma police.

The video goes for just under an hour but it is well worth a watch from an Australian perspective. Perhaps watch it while you're folding washing to help pass the time.


 By the way, this is a cross-section of the tram stops with the bike lane showing:

A final point, given the large numbers of people using the stops on Swanston Street and what is now (by Australian standards) a relatively large number of people using the bike lanes, you would think a preferable design would have had the bike lanes running behind the tram stops to avoid all that conflict. That will eventually come I am sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment