Sales of children’s bicycles have hit a new low leading to concerns that Australian children are not active enough to ensure their long term health and well-being.
Sales of children’s bicycles reported by the industry fell 22% in the decade to 2017, from 492,000 in 2007-8 to 382,000. These are the lowest figures since 2003-04 when 431,000 children’s bicycles were sold.
Things start out on a bad foot: it’s impossible to ignore the associated image of ‘cycling in Newtown’ featuring four fully-kitted MAMILs. So, is that now ‘cycling in Newtown’? Isn’t ‘cycling in Newtown’ a dreadlocked arts student riding to the Green Iguana for a smoothie during a break in classes at Sydney Uni? No, not according to Fry. Cycling in Newtown looks more like Team Sky preparing to climb Mont Ventoux. It’s not hard to think that things might not end well in this article.
Fry is right on one thing: the passing law is not a bad idea. It puts a measurable figure to an existing safe passing law. No problem there…
Freestyle Cyclists Inc was formed in 2012 to give a voice for everyday transport cycling in Australia. A cornerstone of our vision is reform of Australia’s internationally rejected mandatory helmet laws. Geoff's film 'The Cycle of Reform' presents a compelling case for rethinking these laws in Australia. This is developed through a linked series of edited interviews with academics, doctors and cycling advocates.
Mandatory helmet laws led to an immediate and sustained drop in cycling participation. This was most marked in the lowest risk environment of low speed transport cycling – the sort most beneficial to public health. In Australia we have traded a negligible effect on cyclists’ safety for a significant public health cost. We have tasked the police with punishing healthy low-risk behaviour, turning people away from everyday cycling and paying the price in increased rates of obesity, heart disease, and traffic congestion.
Chris Rissel, professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, calls for a paradigm shift in how we approach active transport. Nick Dow, cycling advocate and Freestyle Cyclists founding member, rightly says that the helmet law is an anti-cycling law - you could only conceive of it in a country where everyone drives a car and bikes are just in the way.
Other interviewees include Dr. Paul Martin MBBS, FANZCA, an anaesthetist with considerable experience of trauma victims in the operating theatre, and also a passionate cycling advocate and Kathy Francis who found herself arrested and imprisoned when six months pregnant for failing to pay her helmet fines in Victoria. Our politicians and a disturbing number of state transport “experts” continue to ignore or misrepresent the data – the scientific equivalent according to Dr. Martin of “putting their fingers in their ears and saying la la la we can’t hear you”. The time for reform is well overdue. Geoff’s film is a call to action for anyone interested in promoting public health through active transport.
For further information on Freestyle Cyclists Inc and the film; contact:
Alan Todd - president Freestyle Cyclists Inc 0400 502 325 Geoff McLeod – filmmaker 0438 808 345
7 News Sydney received information from the NSW RMS that the number of people riding bicycles is down at three key entry points in the City of Sydney. Rudy, one of our NSW directors and also a bicycle commuter in Sydney, was interviewed on this.
His thoughts can be summarized by saying that he believes the City of Sydney is doing a great job in establishing bicycle riding as a practical commuting option, but that their efforts are hampered by the state government, headed by the Road Minister Duncan Gay, who is not using evidence-based policies (See section “In the name of safety”) when dealing with bicycle riding matters. Below is the 7 News story, followed by his thoughts.
Close pass on 70km/h stretch of road, but the police have blamed the cyclist for veering into the path of the ute.
Firstly, the driver of the ute has spoken to Craig and apoligised, the company has followed up with the driver. Please do not contact the driver or the company in this story, this is about the lack of follow up from the police on a very serious issue.
The name of the Sargeant has been removed, Craig chose to leave his details in this.
A video clip was put on YouTube (http://youtu.be/iH1eJH_YIeg) and a link was given to the police to follow up an allegation of a close pass. The email back to Craig is here: