Cy­clist on his soap­box

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - STREET WATCH -

A COMO re­searcher is gear­ing up to share his tips on trans­port be­hav­iour and to en­cour­age peo­ple to favour bikes over cars.

Oliver Laing, a PhD can­di­date at UWA, is one of five speak­ers at City Soap­box, a Bike Week event in Perth’s CBD.

Mr Laing said while there was grow­ing recog­ni­tion of the ben­e­fits for mak­ing cities more bike­friendly, Perth’s car-cen­tric de­sign and plan­ning fo­cus over­rode poli­cies that would sup­port bike rid­ing.

“Pop­ping out to grab some gro­ceries by bike could be the low-hang­ing fruit that helps in­crease ev­ery­day trans­port bike rid­ing, but it seems bi­cy­cles just haven’t en­tered the mind­set of lo­cal plan­ners and de­ci­sion mak­ers,” Mr Laing said.

“The sur­round­ing streets are quite hos­tile for the av­er­age per­son to feel com­fort­able rid­ing a bike, there’s no con­ve­nient or ob­vi­ous place to park one.

“The in­grained car­minded cul­ture of our city means driv­ing a car even for a dis­tance of less than a kilo­me­tre is so nor­malised we don’t even think to ques­tion it.”

Mr Laing said ev­i­dence sug­gested there was sig­nif­i­cant la­tent de­mand for bike rid­ing in Perth.

“Bi­cy­cle com­mut­ing has dou­bled in Perth over the last six years and we know from sur­veys that many peo­ple would be happy to make some lo­cal trips by bi­cy­cle if the con­di­tions al­lowed for it,” he said.

City Soap­box will be held at the Mu­seum of Perth from March 14-18.

Mr Laing will present on Thurs­day March 18. Visit bike­week.com.au.

Pic­ture: Brad Serls

Oliver Laing wants Perth to be­come more bike-friendly.

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