Notes from Bike Futures Seminar, Auckland 2011

Bike Futures Seminar
Lifting cycling to the next level - lessons from Melbourne and Portland
Friday 15 April 2011, 9am - 4pm, Auckland

The Auckland Bike Futures Seminar focused on the latest thinking and major issues confronting communities as we move to embrace the bicycle revolution.

A key message
Don't sell biking. Find out what the Council wants and sell that e.g. prosperity, quality of life, tourism, resilience, health, low debt.

What should be the priorities for our Councils?
Spending - at least $5 per resident per year.
End of trip facilities e.g. secure parking, lockers.
Focus on the last 100 metres.
Base plans on evidence and a clear strategic direction.

1. Harry Barber, CEO, Bicycle Victoria
It's not about the bike.
It's about mobility, road space, money, health, lowering energy intensity in a low-carbon world.
As oil prices rise, keep $ in your city.
Instead of advocating for an increase in the cycling budget, better to try for a chunk of the roading / PT / transport / urban design budget.
Cycling budgets are typically in the 'nice to have' spending category, i.e the first budgets to be chopped when money is tight.
Better to grab a share of other 'business as usual' spending categories.

4 types of people on bikes transportrecreational 
 High intensity 1 commuter 2 roadies and mtb
 Low intensity 3 local trips 4 leisure

These 4 types have different needs for route directness, parking requirements, surface quality, traffic separation etc.

Readiness: attitudes to cycling
1% fearless, hardcore
7% Interested but concerned
~60% Think of bike like a vacuum cleaner
33% no way, no how

Focus on the 60%. These people think of bikes in the same way they think of their vacuum cleaner: a tool to do a job.

Costs: approx $500,000 per km for protected bike lanes.
There are big gains in meeting the needs of the vacuum cleaner people.

"Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can." - Arthur Ashe

2. Roger Geller, Bicycle Coordinator, Portland, Oregon
"Build it, they will come."

Virtuous circle: build it → more riders → political support → funding → build it, etc

Portland has built 500 km of lanes and ridership has increased, to ~30% mode share in CBD.
Target is 1600 km.
Took 15 years to get there.

Other tools:
space reallocation
bike passing lanes (where routes are busy)
event bike parking
Sunday parkways (ciclovia)
business bike challenge
"get lit" = lights handouts
safe routes to schools

Portland has no mandatory helmet law for those aged 16+.
Crash rate has gone down as ridership has gone up. The number of crashes has plateaued.
Cycling is worth around $1.2 billion to the Portland economy, because Portlanders drive 4 miles less than the national average.
$800 million remains in the local economy.
130 business owners have asked for car parking to be removed to build bike parking corrals. Merchants seek bike owners as customers.
Health benefits are 25 cents to $1 per mile.
Focus on mainstreaming bike culture.
Concept: the 20-minute neighbourhood, where you can walk to essential amenities and services in 20 minutes.
Value of bike infrastructure is $60 million, about the same as 1 mile of urban freeway.
Goal: Portland is a world-class cycling city.

Design principles:
1 safety
2 comfort (= feeling of safety)
3 attractiveness
4 direct
5 connectedness

Values and beliefs: Portland asked its citizens what they wanted.
Health, a city fit for children, personal security, financial security, intergenerational fairness. Biking contributes to all of these.
Cycling is the most cost effective way to provide mobility.
Our challenge is to create conditions where people choose biking as their preferred way to get around.

3. Jonathan Daly, Team leader, travel behaviour change, GHD
on Behaviour Change and Riding Culture: Changing behaviour without changing minds.
Contrary other speakers: build it and some will come.
We need both physical and social supportive environments to foster cycling.
Physical environments enable change, but social environments motivate change.
A common perception of cycling = lycra-clad roadies, Tony Abbott, all the gear but no idea.
The cycle chic movement challenges that. Dress for the destination, not the trip.
Everyday cycling, everyday clothes, activity. It's what we do.
This challenges the culture of fear around cycling.
Use normal people images of cycling.

Why we can't, and shouldn't, force change.
People don't like being told what to do, e.g. billboard: "Be polite." grafittied with "Go fuck yourself"
It's more effective to use influence. Influence is persuasive.
Behaviour is determined by:
intrapersonal factors
social factors
physical environment
policy and regulation
So, don't blame the victim when the prime danger is cars. Change the context.

Lesson: what moves us, changes us.
Examples: Ataturk and veils
Kaiser Willhelm and potatoes
speed feedback signs as smiley pictures
3-D image of a hole in a cycle path
Fun theory: Kevin Richardson
Use social networks, generate buzz.
The subconscious is motivated by emotion.

Key message: emotion triggers change, not rationality.

Other presentations were from
Dr Cameron Munro, SKM on ‘The Benefits of Narrower Travel Lanes'
Rebecca Lehman, GTA on 'How to Plan Bike Trips Into Transport Projects'.
Rachael Coley - Workplace Riding Executive, Bicycle Victoria
Mike Williamson - Bike Futures Manager, Bicycle Victoria