At present over half the world's population lives in urban areas, with that figure expected to rise to two-thirds by 2050 (United Nations, 2014). Accelerating urbanisation along with prevailing urban lifestyles and consumption patterns are placing considerable pressure on planetary systems, with scientific concerns mounting about the risks associated with exceeding the safe operating space for humanity (Rockstrom et al., 2009; Steffan et al., 2015). Even by world standards, Australia is a highly urbanised society with nearly 90% of the population residing in its urban areas (World Bank, 2015) and the national challenges it faces in the context of sustainability firmly in the spotlight (National Sustainability Council, 2013; see also Kingham & Tranter, Chapter Seven, this volume).
While urban areas face many challenges from a sustainability perspective, the issue of transport is of particular concern. Increasing problems associated with urban mobility — including traffic congestion; death and injury from road crashes; vulnerability of energy sources; and adverse environmental impacts, such as poor local air quality and global climate change — are challenging governments around the world. These problems have been magnified because the motor vehicle is the predominant form of urban mobility (Sperling & Gordon, 2010). There is a growing awareness of the need to prioritise moving people rather than cars (Wright, 2001) and a broad range of both supply- and demand-oriented measures are available to address these challenges. Integrating transport and land use planning, expanding public transport and facilitating greater travel by walk and bicycle are seen as key actions (Schiller, Bruun, & Kenworthy, 2010; Tumlin, 2012). While there are no silver bullets, the National cycling strategy 2011-2016 in Australia notes that ‘against the backdrop of a growing population, the highest ever obesity levels and significant environmental challenges — cycling offers a wealth of benefits’ (Austroads, 2010, p. 8).
Australia's National cycling strategy sets what it acknowledges is an ‘aspirational’ aim (Austroads, 2010, p. 8) to double the number of people cycling in Australia by 2016, and notes that both
[d]eveloping high quality networks and facilities for cyclists, as well as ensuring that all local planning and transport plans are fully integrated and address the needs of cycling are … critical. (p. 5)
Planners have traditionally played an important co-ordination role in planning for urban development by bringing together a range of disciplinary knowledges, including transport knowledges, in determining the suitability of particular forms of development in particular locations. While this has increased planners’ understanding of the links between land use, transport and a host of related fields, it has not been conducive to planners seeking out and developing specialised knowledge of particular modes of transport such as cycling. Land use planners in particular have relied on the advice and direction of those with specialised knowledge of transport — namely, transport planners and traffic engineers — in making decisions about cycling without seeking out and actively engaging with knowledges of cycling as a specific mode of urban transport with specific requirements within urban environments.
While the importance of the engineering knowledges that transport planners and traffic engineers use to underpin their practice should not be denied (see Rose, Chapter Fourteen, this volume), there is increasing evidence to suggest that there is a lot more that planners need to know in order to properly plan for cycling as a mode of urban transport. The recent spate of integrated land use and transport initiatives developed across Australia and New Zealand (Auckland Regional Transport Authority, 2009; Government of South Australia, 2013; Government of Victoria, 2010; New South Wales Government, 2012) attests to the growing recognition of how the nexus between land use and transport planning provides an important mechanism to reshape urban development towards more compact and sustainable urban forms. These initiatives seek to densify the existing urban footprint while boosting the provision of public transport and encouraging active travel modes such as walking and cycling.
In embracing the notion of active travel and its role in creating more sustainable and healthy cities (see Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2013; Government of South Australia, 2011b; National Heart Foundation of Australia (Victorian Division), 2004; Planning Institute of Australia, Heart Foundation, & Australian Local Government Association, 2009), planners will not only need to broaden their knowledge of specific modes of transport, but also recognise the diverse and sometimes conflicting needs of urban travellers in order to enable greater participation in cycling.
Readers may expect this chapter to discuss laws about wearing a helmet, having lights and a bell, stopping at red lights and pedestrian crossings, using bicycle boxes, defined passing distance laws and other road safety rules. Some of these issues are mentioned, but they are not the focus of the discussion. Rather, the chapter is concerned with the law in relation to ‘making space for cycling’, and it is specifically aimed at those working on sustainable transport systems; academics responsible for designing courses about urban planning and transport; cycling and health promotion organisations; lobby groups; cycling advocates; and individuals interested in cycling safety. This chapter does not provide legal advice or information that can be relied upon in any legal situation.
The objective of this chapter is to stimulate thinking and provoke conversations by relevant stakeholders about the interface between the regulatory frameworks established by Australian law and the policy initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable transport and reducing death and injury of cyclists. This chapter argues that the current and future laws that apply to design and management of roads as well as road safety are key considerations in designing a road safety regulatory framework that makes space for sustainable and safe cycling in Australia. After a brief discussion of relevant concepts in Australia's legal system, the chapter examines some case studies to illustrate the current limitations of the law when cycling-related matters are dealt with by the courts. It introduces some of the laws that impact on cycling and then explores the role of the law in making space for cycling and the potential for reform in work health and safety laws to inform future regulatory frameworks in the context of cycling.
Fundamental concepts in Australian law
The legal system in Australia is a common law system, wherein laws are generally made through judges’ decisions (common law) and through legislation (statutory law) passed by the relevant parliament.
The previous chapter described the spaces for cycling with a focus on on-road facilities and safety issues, including the interface between off-road paths and the road. This chapter moves from the roadway to examine the types of off-road spaces for cycling; who uses them and why; and the influences of these spaces on both cycling participation and safety.
Disagreements abound in the literature regarding spaces for off-road riding. The first level of disagreement relates to what spaces should be included under the term ‘off-road’. In this chapter, a practical approach is taken, with off-road spaces encompassing all those which are beyond the roadside kerbs. Under this definition, bicycle lanes with painted (but not physical separators) are classified as on-road spaces, while footpaths (sidewalks in North America) are classified as off-road, whether they are specifically marked for bicycle use or not. In terms of the New Zealand lexicon of cycling facilities introduced in the previous chapter (Lieswyn et al., 2012), the off-road spaces considered in this chapter include:
1. cycle paths — whether Danish cycle tracks or cycle paths at footpath level, called cycle tracks in the European Cycling Lexicon (European Economic and Social Commission, 2011)
2. exclusive or shared paths (beside a road or in a park)
Trails (mountain bike [MTB] tracks and shared-use trails) belong to the general category of off-road spaces but are not discussed in this chapter because of the focus of this book on urban cycling.
Disagreements also exist regarding the role and function of on-road versus off-road spaces for cycling. Some cycling advocates argue that all roads should be made safe and convenient for cycling and that there should be no real need or advocacy for off-road spaces. In contrast, some road safety advocates propose that on-road cycling should be allowed in only very restricted circumstances. For example, in describing the Swedish Vision Zero road safety philosophy, Johansson (2009) states that vulnerable road users (cyclists and pedestrians) should be separated from motorised vehicles whose speeds exceed 30 km/h.
It will be clear from preceding chapters that the issues around planning and design for sustainable cycling futures are complex and multilayered, requiring input and collaboration from a number of different professions. This chapter addresses the knowledge and skills required by landscape architects and urban designers for best practice design at the beginning and end of cycling journeys, to improve the cycling experience and encourage greater participation in all forms of cycling. It will also consider cycle network design, and demonstrate the core contribution to be made by the two disciplines of landscape architecture and urban design as part of the collaborative, multidisciplinary approach. The chapter provides practical assistance to urban designers and landscape architects who are unfamiliar with designing for cycling. It extracts and further develops key concepts from the plethora of design codes and standards available. The chapter, read in conjunction with Chapter Fifteen by Wendy Bell and Donna Ferretti in this volume, will also assist planners when advising developers on cycling requirements and carrying out development assessment, as well as project managers responsible for the timely completion of developments.
Landscape architecture has evolved as a profession with a wide-ranging scope, having concern for the health, sustainability and relationships between humans and the natural and built environment. A key feature of landscape architecture is the integration of technical and scientific knowledge with cultural, social and aesthetic sensibilities. Central to the discipline is site planning, a cyclical, unbounded process that builds knowledge to inform the preparation of the plan. Along with the physical site survey and analysis, landscape architects must navigate a network of social decisions and continually monitor, evaluate and revise plans as necessary. They must respond to and manage different viewpoints and potential conflicts between the participants. Despite this, and the many factors to be considered in site planning, cycling has rarely, and only cursorily, been mentioned in the site planning literature dealing with transport issues.
Inspired by the growing interest in cycling across Australasia, Cycling futures brings together work by both well-established and emerging cycling scholars from Australia and New Zealand. Australasian cycling research has been developing alongside the steady growth in cycling. Since the early 2000s, reported rates of cycling participation have been increasing (Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, 2011). In 2015, more than 4 million Australians (17.4%) had ridden their bicycle in the previous week, while over a third (36.3%) had ridden in the previous year (Australian Bicycle Council & Austroads, 2015). In New Zealand, in 2009-13, a third of the population (34%) cycled in the previous year, with 19% of New Zealanders reporting cycling in the last month (Ministry of Transport, 2013). This increase across Australasia reflects the growing interest in cycling in towns and cities across the globe.
Cycling participation rates in the Netherlands and Denmark are well documented, and attempts to foster alternative-mobility futures are gaining momentum around the world. The implementation of cycling-friendly policies and cycling infrastructure in global (and aspiring global) cities sends a powerful message about the changing future of urban mobility. New York City has been installing cycling facilities for almost two decades (Chen et al., 2012), while some areas of London report that cycling now comprises 16% of vehicle journeys (Transport for London, 2013, p. 5). Tokyo has continued its long tradition of cycling with an estimated 14% of journeys being made by bike (Kidd, 2013); and in Paris, the pervasive Velib bike-share scheme provides a well-patronised, practical option for the city's residents and tourists (Beroud & Anaya, 2012).
Cycling has remained a significant means of travel in China despite policies through the 1990s and early 2000s which either sought to reduce bicycle use (Zacharias, 2002; Haixiao, 2012) or eroded conditions for cyclists (Wang, 2011a; 2011b). Bicycles constitute more than 15% of journeys in cities such as Beijing and more than 50% of journeys in cities like Tianjin (Wang, 2011b; Haixiao, 2012). Perhaps more importantly, changes in central government thinking since 2005 have fostered a reassessment of the role of the bicycle in urban China, facilitating the incorporation of cycling into city planning and the spectacular development of bike-share schemes (Haixiao, 2012, pp. 163 & 169).
Economics is the study of choice. In narrow terms, economics is concerned with choices in the production or consumption of goods and services traded in the market. In broader terms, economics matters whenever people need to make a choice amongst various options.
People make a choice in travelling amongst various transport modes. The use of bikes as a transport mode varies greatly depending on regional economic and social factors. For example, fossil-fuel-burning transport modes inclusive of motorised bikes and tricycles (also known as rickshaws or tuktuks) are widely used for relatively long-distance travelling in developing countries. Riding pushbikes may not be a desirable option for long-distance travelling in developing countries where the cycling infrastructure is not well established. In contrast, in some developed countries, cycling can be a transport mode even for long-distance travelling for recreation and physical fitness (Börjesson & Eliasson, 2012a; Pattinson & Thomson, 2014).
This chapter discusses the economics of cycling as a choice of transport, based on the neoclassical approach to the economic way of thinking. In the neoclassical economics paradigm, it is assumed that human beings are economic beings (Homo economicus) and are responsive to economic (dis)incentives. When some activity is found to become more costly and less beneficial to undertake, a ‘rational’ economic being is expected to do it less. Conversely, when doing something becomes less costly and more beneficial, the ‘rational’ person tends to do it more. When decisions are made with respect to transportation, the benefits and costs of each of the available transportation options are weighed up. In doing so, non-market benefits and costs are also taken into account.
The economics of cycling is not just about cycling as a choice of transport mode, but also about cycling facilities as a public choice of road use. In fact, no clear dividing line can be drawn between the benefits of cycling and the benefits of cycling facilities because the two are inextricably linked.
The island continent of Australia and the bicycle seem almost to have been made for one another. The machine was widely adopted from 1890, and over the next three decades was routinely ridden over greater distances as part of daily rural life than anywhere else on earth. By 1896 there was an extensive and well-used bicycle path network in Western Australia that linked communities over an area of some 350 000 km2, one and a half times the size of Victoria — the largest such bicycle path system in the world at the time (Fitzpatrick, 1980a, pp. 110-116). At the turn of the twentieth century, cycle racing — centred in Europe and North America — was the most popular, lucrative and widely followed sport internationally. Yet, half a world away, Australia sponsored the world's richest race and still hosts the oldest continuous track race, the Austral Wheel, and the second-oldest road race, the Melbourne to Warrnambool, in existence (Fitzpatrick, 2011, p. 85). As well, the bicycle saw its first significant military use during the Boer War of 1899-1902, in which experienced Australian bush cyclists demonstrated the machine's wartime value (Fitzpatrick, 1998, pp. 67-70).
This chapter presents an overview of Australian cycling history, from the early high wheeler to the present day. It considers the machine's utilitarian nature and effectiveness in the Australian environment. It reviews its social impact, both rural and urban, and role in the development of modern tourism and road maps. It surveys the bicycle craze of the 1890s, and its unique employment on the West Australian goldfields, including the cycle messenger services and camel pad interaction. It looks at the bicycle's widespread adoption by rural workers through the early twentieth century, the machine's decline in use by 1970, and its subsequent resurgence.
A remarkable cycling history
Australia's first cycling phase was occasioned by the introduction of the high wheeler or penny-farthing cycles (also known as ordinaries) in 1875, with Melbourne the premier centre. In 1884, Alf Edward became the first person to cycle from Melbourne to Sydney, taking eight and a half days. Australia's most famous high wheeler cyclist was George Burston who, with HR Stokes, undertook a round-the-world journey in 1888, and was among the few world cyclists to do so (Burston & Stokes, 1890).
This chapter aims to provide information about cycling crashes and injury patterns in Australia and New Zealand [NZ]. Hopefully, it will soon be outdated! Initiatives to promote cycling, and to improve cycling safety, are already being implemented across Australia and New Zealand. If all goes well, such initiatives could result in more people cycling, and fewer people being injured while cycling (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD]/International Transport Forum [ITF], 2013).
The chapter focuses on cycling on paths and roads because most relevant policy aims to increase cycling for transport, which occurs mostly on paths and roads. Much cycling for recreation and/or fitness also occurs on paths and roads. Cycling on mountain-bike trails, in BMX parks, and in velodromes is not in focus in this chapter. Nonetheless, injuries sustained during such cycling may be included in some data presented. Depending on its source, data may include a range of cycling activities (for example, trekking, travelling to the shops) which may have different risk profiles. There is no administrative data available in which these activities are separated. However, police-reported data, as opposed to hospitalisation data, is more likely to exclude some activities such as riding in off-road settings.
Some cycling advocates shun discussion of cycling crashes and injuries because it may contribute to a perception that cycling is unsafe, and so discourage people from cycling. Indeed, the perceived danger has been shown to be a key deterrent to cycling in Australia (Daley, Rissel, & Lloyd, 2007; Garrard, Crawford, & Hakman, 2006) and New Zealand (Mackie, 2009). However, it is important to understand the patterns and causes of cycling injury so that injury risk can be minimised.
Moreover, as Chris Rissel (Chapter Three, this volume) points out, it is important to recognise that on average people who ride bicycles have been found to have a lower all-cause mortality risk than those who do not, despite any risk of injury associated with cycling (China: Matthews et al., 2007; Denmark: Andersen, Schnohr, Schroll, & Hein, 2000; Finland: Hu et al., 2004). While these results are specific to the cycling environments in which they were observed, which may be more advanced than our own, they suggest that it is possible to create an environment in which cycling is health-enhancing. Increased cycling safety potentially increases the health benefits of cycling.
Across Australasia (and indeed the world) the debate has long continued about how to best provide for cycling. Leaving aside for now issues such as cycling promotions, driver behaviour and relevant legislation, which are covered in other chapters of this volume, the physical infrastructure and spaces provided play a crucial role in ensuring that existing people cycling have adequate levels of service (thus preventing further declines in numbers) whilst also attracting more people to choose to cycle.
High traffic speeds and volumes, as well as poor cycling facilities, are often identified as key deterrents to cycling in areas of relatively low cycling usage like Australasia. There is also some tension between those who want separated (often off-road) cycle facilities and those who prefer ‘integrated’ (on-road) facilities. The state of the art of professional guidance in this part of the world is still rapidly evolving; even the latest Austroads guidelines (Austroads, 2014) do not reflect some of the most recent developments elsewhere or guidance from countries demonstrating the world's best practice in cycling (for example, Centre for Research & Contract Standardisation in Civil Engineering [CROW], 2007, in the Netherlands).
This chapter provides some reflections on these issues, based on current research and practice in this area. It will focus particularly on on-road spaces for cycling.
Before continuing the discussion, it is useful to clarify some of the terminology being used. Cycle facilities are often called by various names, which can lead to confusion by both practitioners and the general public alike about what exactly is being referred to. Lieswyn et al. (2012) provided a useful breakdown of cycling facility types, with the following key points:
• ‘Cycleway’ is generally an all-encompassing term for describing all types of dedicated cycling facilities.
• ‘Cycle lane’ describes an on-road cycling facility, often denoted only by road markings. A variation of this is a ‘protected’ or ‘segregated’ cycle lane, where cycles and motorised traffic are separated by some form of physical divider.
Australia and New Zealand, like other developed countries, face serious health problems due to increasing levels of chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. The Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD] recently reported that chronic non-communicable diseases are now the main cause of both disability and death worldwide (OECD, 2010). Globally, chronic diseases have overtaken communicable diseases and injuries as the leading burden of disease (Nugent, 2008). Of the 58 million deaths that occurred globally in 2005, approximately 35 million, or 60%, were due to chronic causes, and most of them were due to cardiovascular disorders and diabetes (32%), cancers (13%) and chronic respiratory diseases (7%) (Abegunde, Mathers, Taghreed, Ortegon, & Strong, 2007). Global projections are that levels of chronic disease will only worsen in coming years (Nugent, 2008; Lopez, 2006). This chapter describes the chronic disease challenges facing developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand and critically examines the evidence that cycling can assist in addressing these challenges. It provides an overview of the international literature on the health benefits of cycling, including relevant Australian studies. It discusses how Australian health promotion agencies approach health aspects of cycling.
In Australia, the leading underlying cause of death in 2011 was coronary heart disease, followed by lung cancer and cerebrovascular disease among men, and cerebrovascular disease and dementia and Alzheimer's disease among women (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2014). Currently, 9 in 10 deaths have chronic disease as an underlying cause (AIHW, 2014). Data from the 2007-08 National Health Survey indicates that one-third of the Australian population (35%, or 7 million people) reported having at least one of the following chronic conditions: asthma, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease (mainly stroke), arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], depression or high blood pressure. In Australia and New Zealand, chronic diseases together cause 85% of the total burden of disease (Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation [IHME], 2013). There are an estimated 1 million people with diagnosed diabetes in Australia, and the incidence of new cases is increasing rapidly, including among young people (AIHW, 2014). The rate of selfreported diabetes more than doubled between 1989-90 and 2011-12, from 1.5% to 4.2% of Australians.
Despite the burgeoning field of cycling research and widespread concerns over media representations of cyclists (Horton, 2007; Skinner & Rosen, 2007; Advertising Standards Bureau, 2011) very little academic work has been published on cycling and the media. A few notable exceptions include Zac Furness's (2010) detailed account of cycling in North American popular culture (film, literature and television), Ben Fincham's (2007) discussion of bike messengers in the British press, and the comparative study of representations of cyclists in Australian newspapers by Rissel, Bonfigliolo, Emilsen, and Smith (2010). The limited scrutiny of cycling in the Australian media contrasts with the recent spate of government-sponsored road safety advertising campaigns which feature cyclists (for example, ‘Share the road’; ‘Be safe be seen’; ‘It's a two-way street’). Many of these campaigns aim at fostering more positive interactions between cyclists and motorists. In this chapter, we are specifically interested in a road safety campaign which features cyclists as a point of contrast in its advice to young drivers.
Young drivers are often targeted in road safety campaigns because of their over-representation in road crash statistics (Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics [BITRE], 2013a; Wundersitz, 2012; Curry, Hafetz, Kallan, Winston, & Durbin, 2011). In 2012, people aged 17-25 made up just 13% of the Australian population yet accounted for 22% of fatalities on Australian roads (BITRE, 2013b, p. iii). Graduated licensing systems and mass media advertising campaigns are two interventions used by Australian state and territory governments to address high crash rates amongst young people. Although a number of evaluative studies have questioned the efficacy of mass advertising campaigns (for example, Ulleberg, 2001, p. 293; Delaney, Lough, Whelan, & Cameron, 2004; Wundersitz, Hutchinson, & Woolley, 2010), they remain an important part of the road safety tool kit. The current chapter analyses the road safety advertising campaign screened by the South Australian Motor Accident Commission [MAC] from 2010 to 2014. We are specifically interested in the characteristics and behaviours assembled together under the term ‘cyclist’ in the MAC campaign.
The landmark decision by the New South Wales Court of Appeal in the case of Norrie v NSW to recognise the right of Norrie to register as sex ‘non-specific’ on a birth certificate serves as a caution to researchers, policy makers, planners — in fact the entire community — to remain sceptical of sex as an essential biological fact, and of gender as the culturally produced meanings which proceed from that fact. Both biological sex and gender are social productions (Gatens, 1983; Butler, 1990). Differentiating bodies by reference to anatomical (hormonal, physiological) features is not a self-evident or necessary way of ordering existence. As Bacchi notes:
if indeed ‘boys’ were boys and ‘girls’ were girls, there would not be the amount of disquiet generated by attempts to challenge gender-specific hairstyling (long hair for boys and short hair for girls), or attempts to challenge dress codes. (1996, p. 4)
‘Women’ and ‘men’ are political, rather than natural, categories which have significant consequences for those who do not fit such categories (Bacchi, 1996, p. 4).
So what does this have to do with cycling? It provides an important opportunity to question assumptions about the relation between gender categories and cycling. This questioning has two aspects. First, thinking about ‘women’ and ‘men’ as socially produced categories allows us to challenge the content of those categories and, more importantly, explore the processes by which they are formed. In this chapter we have used the term ‘gendering’ to refer to these processes of gender formation. As Bacchi puts it:
[g]endering describes an ongoing and always incomplete process that constitutes (makes come into existence) (Jones, 1997, p. 265) ‘women’ and ‘men’ as specific kinds of unequal political subjects. (2012, p. 1, emphasis in the original)
The second aspect of this questioning concerns the formation of some ‘entity’ — in this instance, cycling (bikes, practices, spaces) by reference to ‘attributes’ differentiated as belonging to ‘woman’ or ‘man’ (Bacchi, 2012, p. 5). For example, cycling jerseys are formed as women's or men's jerseys by reference to physical ‘attributes’ differentiated as belonging to ‘women’ and ‘men’. As particular associations stick, such as women's jerseys and men's jerseys, they operate to reinforce the categories of ‘woman’ and ‘man’ (see also Faulkner, 2001, pp. 82-84).
Speed is a major contributing factor in on-road crashes. Vehicle speed, excessive speed and speed inappropriate for the conditions are known to contribute to road crashes and human trauma (Elvik, Christensen, & Amundsen, 2004; Aarts & Van Schagen, 2006). However, little is known about the speed of cyclists. Cyclists’ travel speed, drivers’ perceptions of cyclist speed and the potential role of cyclists’ speed in relation to safety are poorly understood. It is likely that the travel speed of a cyclist will impact cyclist safety and directly impact how drivers and cyclists interact on the road. For example, if drivers underestimate how fast a cyclist is travelling, they may be more likely to underestimate the distance they needed to turn safely in front of a cyclist, or the time available to open a vehicle door.
For cyclists, speed varies constantly and many factors play a role. The cyclist's wellbeing is a major factor in terms of level of fitness, exertion or fatigue. Terrain directly influences speed; a hill that slows a rider going up provides a free ride down on the return trip. At times cyclists are slowed by headwinds and crosswinds and deterred by rain, and at other times they are helped along by tailwinds and encouraged by warm sunshine (see Kingham and Tranter, Chapter Seven, this volume). Unlike a driver who is cocooned from their environment, the cyclist is exposed to enjoy or combat the elements. The mechanics of the bike, the tyre pressure, bike geometry and the cyclist's position on the bike — upright or tucked over drop handlebars — can also play a part. In addition, the purpose of a trip can increase or decrease the speed a cyclist travels: a daily commute is likely to be travelled at a different speed to a social ride with friends or children on the weekend (van Ingen Schenau, 1988; Hennekam, 1990; Grappe et al., 1999; Thornley, Woodward, Langley, Ameratunga, & Rodgers, 2008).
One of the most obvious benefits of more people choosing more sustainable transport options is the reduction in pollution emissions — and one such mode is the bicycle. However, the environmental benefits of more people walking or using the bicycle as their form of transport are far greater than just this. These environmental benefits of cycling have long been known, even in nations with extremely low levels of cycling participation. For example, a US study from the 1990s presented a convincing case for the superiority of cycling (and walking) in environmental terms. This study argued that ‘by far the greatest environmental benefit of bicycling and walking … is that they bypass the fossil fuel system to which the American economy has become addicted’ (Komanoff, Roelofs, Orcutt, & Ketcham 1993, p. 1).
This chapter reiterates many of the arguments about the environmental benefits of cycling, using recent data to support the case. In addition, the chapter introduces a discussion about happiness and personal connections with both the natural environment and with other people, which is often overlooked in discussions about ‘the environment’, yet can be seen as a vital part of a sustainable environment. In this chapter, using scale as the basis of division, we consider the broader environmental impacts of increasing bicycle use, starting with impacts on the individual, moving through to local communities and nations (specifically Australia and New Zealand), and ending with global impacts.
There are a number of ways that cycling affects the personal environment of the individual. The most obvious is the health benefits that cycling provides through an increase in levels of physical activity and the increased levels of connectedness that come when people switch from cars to active modes of travel. These health benefits are covered by Rissel (Chapter Three, this volume) and do not need to be repeated in detail here. However, it should be noted that many of these health benefits are the direct result of physical exercise which can take place in a poor-quality environment where people using the bicycle can often be exposed to high volumes of traffic and associated pollution, as is often the case in our towns and cities.
The bicycle was an early facilitator of tourist mobility prior to popularisation of motorised transport in the early 1900s. Before widespread adoption of motor vehicle transportation, tourists’ mobility was largely achieved on foot, by horseback or by rail (Tobin, 1974). From an engineering perspective, bicycles evolved iteratively from inefficient and cumbersome contraptions in the 1700s to become sleek, functional means of personal transport by the late 1800s (Watson & Gray, 1978). As Fitzpatrick demonstrates (Chapter Two, this volume), the advent of functional bicycles opened up the countryside to independent tourism, freeing people from the confines of limited transportation options: ‘The individual who rode the twowheeler could travel routes beyond corridors of the railroad and also experienced the joys of motion’ (Tobin, 1974, p. 841).
However, the growing proliferation of motor vehicles in the early 1920s contributed to a decline in cycling. Associations such as the League of American Wheelmen and the Cyclists’ Touring Club in the United Kingdom sought to keep the tradition of cycle touring alive (Tobin, 1974). The nexus between cycling and tourism is long established and is therefore worthy of consideration today, especially given the recent resurgence in recreational cycling and because of challenges faced by society in the form of unsustainable, carbon-intensive modes of tourism transportation.
This chapter explores the contemporary nexus between cycling and tourism as it emphasises the significance of the bicycle beyond being simply a means of transportation. A further purpose of this chapter is to summarise the existing scholarly research examining cycling and tourism. Given this volume's focus on the Australian and New Zealand cycling context, attention is also given to discussing the manifestation of cycle tourism in Australia, with particular attention paid to conditions that may be impeding the potential of cycle tourism from being realised in Australia.
Understanding the cycle tourism market
Definitions of cycle tourism
Defining cycle tourism is a contentious issue. Whilst numerous definitions of cycle tourism have been proposed (for example, see Lumsdon, 1996; Ritchie, 1998; Simonsen & Jorgenson, 1998; South Australian Tourism Commission, 2005; Sustrans, 1999), issues such as trip purpose, motivation, trip characteristics, and the extent to which a bicycle serves as tourism transport have hampered acceptance of a universal definition.
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