Issue 126, August - September 1998

In this issue

  • Black Spot Panel
  • If you have an accident...
  • Velo Borealis
  • Cars, naturally?
  • Ride to Work Day 1998
  • Dual Mode
  • 25 years
  • Media coordination
  • The letter that wasn't printed
  • Velozity Bed & Breakfast
  • Cycling in Japan
  • Spreading the Word
  • Transport Research Seminars
  • Black Spot - Cyclists Represented

    BISA will be represented on the South Australian Black Spot Community Consultative panel following national representations by the BFA. Cyclists interests will now be well served on the panel. Other representatives are the SA Road Transport Association, RAA, SA Department of Transport, District Council of Loxton and SA Government.

    The Black Spot Community Consultative panel will consider and comment on all nominations for black spot funding within South Australia. As previously reported in Pedal Update, BISA has nominated 7 locations which have proven particularly hazardous to cyclists for consideration under the black spot program.

    Alex Sims will attend the panel as BISA's representative.


    If you have an accident make it count

    If you are injured while cycling don't forget to report your accident to the police.

    This will ensure that the accident is included in official counts. These counts are used to determine areas for road treatments to improve safety. Reporting also ensures that research data on accidents includes information relating to cyclists.

    It's also a legal requirement to report accidents which result in injury. BISA's mission is to promote cycling for transport and to represent all cyclists at the local state and national levels by working collaboratively with other interest groups and governments.


    Velo Borealis

    Velo Borealis took place in Trondheim, Norway 23-26 June, and gathered several hundred people, mainly from Nordic countries. There were also participants from UK, Germany, the Netherlands and several other European countries - plus Australia.

    The big highlight of the conference was the talk on the opening day by BFA president and BISA member Harry Owen, on the health benefits of cycling. The importance of this was really put beyond doubt in the minds of everyone present.

    Other highlights of the conference were reports on the effects of reduced speed limits and improvements in junctions, with a large effect on accident rates. These measures have also been shown to increase the amount of cycling.

    Several speakers also focused on the street as a social place, how this is ruined by the car, and the positive role the bicycle can play. We also heard about an interesting approach taken in Oxford, which takes into account the different needs of adult cyclists and children - using this insight to create twin networks, which may be achieved without the expenses and controversy associated with a single network which attempt to cater for everyone.

    There were also interesting sessions devoted to bicycle tourism and to winter cycling - though the latter is perhaps not so relevant for South Australia!

    Jon Ivar Skullerud

    Norwegian TV News?

    Harry Owen's talk at Velo Borealis was even reported on Norwegian TV!

    Find out what he said.

    Come to the next general meeting of BISA on 27 August at the Royal Oak Hotel, Kent Town when Harry will be our speaker.


    Cars: The natural way to go!

    A student recently proclaimed in class that she always drove close to cyclists in order to scare them off the road. At a meeting a transport expert carefully explained to me why there was no room for cycling arterials on particular roads - there were too many moving and parked cars! When I was speaking with Phillip Satchell on 5AN about 40 km/h residential limits recently, a woman rang in proclaiming Adelaide would be ruined if cars travelled in Adelaide's residential streets at 40 km/h. It wasn't natural!

    Cars are so often considered to be the natural inhabitants of roads. Bicycles and pedestrians are unnatural inhabitants. Cyclists, to many motorists, are like a threatening introduced species - things which detrimentally invade the natural habitat of the motor vehicle. (At present of course we are breeding like rabbits!)

    Where does this overwhelming assumption that cars are naturally appropriate mobility, while cyclists and pedestrians are vermin, come from?

    The creation of cars as `natural' is an expensive, exceptionally persistent and unnatural creation. This natural perception comes significantly from the yearly expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars, promoting the car as a natural way to go. The promotion is incessant. Conning society, as the tobacco multi-nationals have shown, requires financial fortitude. Forget particular brand advertisements. Every branded car advertisement, is an advertisement for a car, and a huge proportion of newspaper, magazine, and television ads these days are promoting the car - naturally!

    Have a look at car advertisements. There are two dominant kinds.

    In one type, cars are shown as wild things in the natural environment. In these ads cars appear in natural environments, often alongside trusting wild animals. They may be sitting in pristine deserts, or fording rivers, or staring majestically from the top of mountain ridges. In these shots, there is never a tyre track on the ground. There is never another car and there are no people. These cars appear out of the natural environment, and they are solitary and majestic. They are shown as a perfect adaptation of nature. They are beautiful. They are natural. They are not artificial, human constructions which damage and pollute. They are of the wilderness, and not of our crowded streets. They tread lightly on the land.

    In a recent magazine variation of this theme the car actually protects kangaroos and echidnas from death, and it's safe for kids too. And in the ads on television, a car is certainly not a danger to other people and the fragile Australian environment. Hell no - a car is a therapeutic product - it provides aromatherapy, hydrotherapy or a solarium to its owner - natural therapies all - and totally unconnected from injuries, deaths, and the hospital trauma specialists. Like other animals, cars are evolving now. Cars are not only natural, but they heal us and protect us as well. If cars are this well adapted to the planet, then it makes sense naturally that cyclists and pedestrians on the roads are pests - dangerous pests!

    These ads are targeted at those who care - and those who care for kids and for the planet are mostly women. These `natural' ads are predominantly for the mums.

    In the other dominant type of ad, cars are technical marvels. These are the ads for the dads. Engines are shown. Technical jargon is used. And separation from the natural environment is emphasised. Cars are technical, man made marvels firstly so that dad can protect his little family from harm. Secondly, cars are marvels because they have only a tiny impact on air quality. These cars are smart cars. They protect those in them and the air outside them through technical wizardry. You just can't go wrong with this sophistication. You needn't have a care! The message is the same - neither people nor the environment are harmed by cars.

    But if you think about the traffic in city streets at 5.30 pm, then the ads are pretty funny. They deserve our mirth. These natural things are contained. This is life in a crowded zoo. But that kind of funniness aside - we as a society are being conned appallingly. These ads wash over us. They may sell an individual car to an individual buyer. But they also sell messages about cars to the masses of us who browse over them. The message is cars, of course and naturally!

    Changing our residential street limits to 40 km/h, in an effort to protect the natural habitat of people in communities, is a battle to enhance the ecology of our streets. There's much to be gained, but as with all battles for our common environment, huge commercial interests have to be challenged.

    Peter Lumb, BISA President


    Ride To Work Day 1998

    It's on again, Wednesday, 4 November, as part of Bike Week 98. Bike Week has moved from autumn to spring to mark the beginning of the cycling season (for those not hardy enough to cycle year round).

    As usual, we will be hosting a breakfast in Adelaide for riders. Publicity will be improved and should include greater media coverage and signage on major roads. In this way, we will get the message across to our primary target group, commuting motorists.

    Last year's experiment with suburban breakfasts was not a success. This year we are trying a different approach. We will support cyclists who wish to organise work place breakfasts in the suburbs. If you are interested in encouraging work mates to try cycling to work on that day, please contact me on 8380 5497. BISA can provide you with breakfast supplies and material to help promote BISA and our agenda.

    Full details of the Adelaide breakfast will be in the next edition of Pedal Update.

    Terry Leach


    Dual Mode

    A recent media release from the Minister for Transport indicates that more safe bicycle storage facilities will be installed at railway stations.

    Unless an effective strategy is in place to sell dual mode to the public, this could become a case of throwing good money after bad.

    The present system is not working.

    Most of the 30 lockers at the Paradise Interchange, for example, are not used and are showing advanced stages of decay and vandalism.

    In Brisbane demand for lockers at railway stations exceeds supply by 100%.

    South Australia might be a leader in promoting cycling. The promotion of dual mode transport requires more work.

    Hans Penning


    25 years 25 years 25 years 25 years 25 years 25 years

    In 1999 BISA celebrates 25 years of bicycle advocacy.

    We're planning to celebrate.

    Contact Margaret Day with your ideas and suggestions.


    Media Coordination Reminder

    One of the best ways BISA can raise public and political awareness for safer roads and better facilities is a coordinated campaign where members write to newspapers, magazines, politicians etc.

    I would encourage all of those BISA members who are willing to participate by writing letters to contact me on 8276 9469 or by email at

    Malcolm Healey


    And the letter the RAA did not print...

    N Hobba of Lockleys (Letters, page 5) does all motorists a favour when he/she leaves his/her cars at home. Hobba does not compete for parking space, Hobba alleviates congestion, air and noise pollution and Hobba is unlikely to injure or kill others on a bicycle or on foot. Hobba also saves other tax payers money because he or she will (if an average cyclist) use Medicare funded medical services less. As a cyclist Hobba is a good citizen.

    However registration fees are irrelevant to Hobba's road access. Roads are public spaces which are to be freely used by all citizens, whether or not they are tax payers. Are children to be banned from crossing roads because they pay no motor vehicle registration? Are elderly people to be banned from footpaths because they are not rate payers? Are those who have an income too minimal to be taxed, and who have no registered vehicle, to be contained to their own properties? Without roads we can only negotiate our nation through private property.

    Defending road use because a person pays motor vehicle registration, petrol tax, car sales tax, income tax or any other tax is non-sense! All people, unless legally incarcerated, are guaranteed freedom of movement, and freedom of assembly within Australian borders. Such freedom can only be achieved through our public road spaces.

    It is only a legal convention which allows private motor vehicles on public roads. Roads belong to the people for whatever lawful purpose! The road network has been built up through public money since the beginning of white colonisation. Public roads are a public legacy, which current generations contribute to only fractionally. Roads are a public resource for all citizens and road users, and roads have a multiplicity of uses. Roads are certainly not only for motor vehicle users, who, on the whole have usurped these public spaces, and turned them into a private car monoculture.

    Peter Lumb

    Peter submitted this letter to the RAA magazine in his professional capacity as a member of the School of Social Work and Social Policy University of South Australia.


    Velozity: Bed & Breakfast & Bicycles

    Can you home-host BFA members or bicycle advocates attending Velozity, 19-21 February 1999?

    Bed and breakfast only required.

    Please contact Margaret Day with offers of assistance or any questions 8271 5824.


    Japan, the land of multi-story bicycle parking

    Members who attended the June meeting enjoyed Geoff Findlay's illustrated talk on Japan and the ordinary cyclist.

    This article is by Irma Frieda, a former BISA member who lives, and cycles, in Japan.

    Riding bicycles in Japan

    I've lived in Nagoya for two years now and use my bicycle for getting around town although I haven't done any touring yet. Nagoya is a flat city so a bicycle is the perfect transport to use (isn't it anyway?). However there are some differences between cycling here and in Australia.

    It is illegal to ride bicycles on main roads in Nagoya, and you'd be taking your life in your hands if you did. Japanese drivers are just as good or bad as drivers elsewhere in the world and the roads are jam packed with the latest models Toyotas and Nissans. Incidentally, Toyota, the town and headquarters of the motor corporation, is only about 30 kilometres from Nagoya and keeps a few hundred English teachers gainfully employed.

    You can ride on narrow streets and lanes - and there are some very interesting little lanes to explore. My Japanese friends tell me that if you get caught riding on a main road you only get cautioned, not fined. The only people I've seen doing this are Gaijin or foreigners. Foreigners are also the only people I've seen wearing helmets, as they are not legally required here.

    Pedestrians and cyclists share the sidewalk. When I first arrived here I used to marvel at the speed of cyclists weaving among the pedestrians. It was a kind of balletic bicycling art I was witnessing - cyclists gliding in and out of the milling crowd with hardly a sideways glance.

    In two years I've only seen a couple of minor collisions and a few near misses. It is interesting that when such an incident occurs, both parties start apologising to each other simultaneously. It appears that Japanese people are willing to be immediately conciliatory, defusing the situation of any element of blame.

    Footpath generally have good surfaces and many of them are wide with few pedestrians. It is illegal to ride with an umbrella but everyone does it and I am now adept at this too.

    People park their bikes anywhere. There are signs all over the city telling cyclists not to park bicycles but everyone ignores them. It is generally safe to park for a few hours but if you leave your bicycle overnight it will often be impounded by the council and you will have to pay to reclaim it. Nagoya seems very safe as far as bicycle theft is concerned. I use a tiny back wheel lock on my mountain bike and at home I leave it beside my apartment unlocked.

    Irma Frieda


    Spreading the word

    We want to increase BISA's profile in the community, and are considering launching new slogans for use on Tshirts and stickers.

    The message needs to be consistent with BISA's approach of encouragement and be non-confrontational or offensive. For example: "Cycling is less exhausting". Anything more risqué than "Cyclists can sustain it longer" is definitely out. But please, no "My other car is a bicycle".

    Feel free to suggest artwork to accompany your suggestion.

    Prizes to the value of $75 are on offer, probably the first Tshirt with your slogan on it. So send your suggestions to BISA Slogan Competition, GPO Box 792, Adelaide 5001.

    Terry Leach


    Transport Systems Centre Research Seminars

    Researchers at the University of South Australia Transport Systems Centre present free public seminars on their work. Topics which might be of interest to BISA members include Land use and transport (28 August), Traffic speed distributions (4 September), Road pricing and air pollution (18 September) and Beyond main street (16 October).

    More information is available from Kylie Cook, phone 8302 1771 or email