Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas wishes

In amongst all of the iPads, X-Boxes, Playstations, skateboards, dolls, lego, socks and jocks on Christmas day, there may be also some bicycles that Santa has dropped off for children (maybe Santa will bring me one to place the one that some n-er-do-well stole the other day). They will of course be very excited and may perhaps spend some time wobbling around the backyard on their training wheels.

Sooner or later, they will have been around the garden more times than they would care to remember and will want to go on a longer distance. They'll get to do that once or twice with mum or dad (or both) walking along behind them as they wait at every crossing. In some cases, mum or dad might crawl along next to them in the car because they don't really feel like walking.

In other families, the bikes may be packed into the back of the four-wheel-drive and taken to a special bike park where their owners can ride them in circles for an afternoon.

Before long though, in most cases, it will eventually get boring and the bikes will slowly gather dust and rust in the shed. And so while bike sales will outnumber those of cars for another year, not all of them will be used with any regularity.

Here's hoping though that in addition to the bicycle, long board, penny skateboard or scooter, those same children start seeing money spent on ways that allow them to travel safely, either with schoolmates or their families, further than their immediate neighbourhood.

Some green shoots are starting to show. Adelaide City Council seems to be getting the message. They have a bicycle plan and new plans for Frome Street seem to be going in the right direction. They include a lane of traffic being removed and plans for lanes than are an appropriate width. And who would have thought just a few years ago, Australia could support a magazine like Treadlie; one that is already attracting intelligent critiques. Indeed, it's supporting three business with that name but different spellings; the magazine, a bike shop in Adelaide (Treadly) and an online bike shop in Melbourne (Tredly).

A city with different yet equally viable modes of transport available is one that works better for everyone. The day I see my mother-in-law choose to meet her friends for tap dancing on an electric bike with her taps shoes and drink bottle in a bag on the back instead of driving the relatively short distance in her car, I will know we've pretty much made it.

Until then, I will enjoy continuing to vomit my thoughts onto the Blogger platform. A very merry Christmas to all two of my Google followers and everyone else who has ever stumbled across here by accident. Amazingly, I now need more than two hands to count my daily hits.

And of course, a safe, happy and successful 2013.

Certainly not my mother-in-law but hey, you never know one day
Picture from the Canberra Times

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