Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Hosting other cyclists

There is a great web site called 'Warm Showers' where cyclists with space can offer to host, for free, other cyclists at their home.

The deal is well thought out, with the host setting out what they are prepared to offer, lawn space for the tent or a room, or just a sofa bed; meals, or just kitchen spcae, 'turn up' or give formal warning via email, phone or fax; short term storage, or none, and so on.

The system is built on reciprocity, so those who take are expected to also give, when they get back home anyway.

It is a global system and worth a look at.

You can only see who the hosts are if you are a member, so think about signing up and becoming a 'warm showers' host.

There are many Australian hosts, but only one, so far, in the Toowoomba region.

Don't forget, if you're going to cycle in Tasmania, Victoria, or all the way to WA, there are probably warm showers to be staying with on the way through.

For the web site go here:

Monday, 1 December 2008

How to mark a roundabout properly

These two photoghraphs, taken within the Noosa shire area, show how out council should be using the BAZ signs, the yellow bike logo, a very large sign, stuck mid lane, not in the gutter.

The other picture shows how cyclists should be served with signage at the roundabout, again, not a tiny sign stuck in the gutter, but proper green lanes allowing for left, right and straight on positioning.

Of course, such obvious signage would not be so vital if our fellow road users knew how to behave at roundabouts.

This requires large scale public education, and not just from the Toowoomba Regional Council either.

Clearly, there are many agencies of government that should, must, start playing their part in educating motorists and cyclists in how to cooperate on our roadways.

BUG Social Ride December 7

The next BUG social ride is on Sunday 7 December, but with a summer early start.

Meet at the Art Gallery Garden, opposite the Oxygen Cafe ready to leave at 6.30 a.m..

The route is a 36 km ride going via the Uni, Top Camp, Hodgson Vale, Lucks Road and back through Drayton to meet again at the Oxygen Cafe for a coffee and relax.

See you there.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Cycle for health

Cycling cuts millions off nation's waist line, bottom line

This story is from the Bicycle Queensland web site here:

Membership of BQ is a good investment and you can join here:

A report launched by Dr Rob Moodie, Professor of Global Health at the University of Melbourne's Nossal Institute, has found cycling currently saves an estimated $227.2 million per year in health costs in Australia. The report Cycling: Getting Australia Moving has placed a dollar value on cycling participation.

Dr Moodie said "this report demonstrates the considerable benefit offered to individuals and governments by cycling. Addressing the barriers preventing more Australians from cycling will deliver substantial savings to both government and the community".

As well as uncovering the economic benefits of cycling, the report examined the barriers currently preventing more Australians from getting out on two wheels.

Editor of the report and policy advisor with the Cycling Promotion Fund Elliot Fishman said "Safety concerns, a lack of skill/knowledge and limited bicycle friendly infrastructure and urban design were all found to impact negatively on cycling participation."

The report identifies a strong economic basis for investment in bicycle friendly programs and infrastructure. "Cycling is not just good fun, it's a good investment - delivering returns in health, climate change, congestion and petrol price relief," Fishman said. See the Cycling Promotion Fund's website for more, including PDFs of the full report and an executive summary.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Toowoomba Regional Council: not the way to sign the roads

Cyclists have noticed the rise in bicycle signage around town over the last few months, and while it shows someone is thinking about bikes, that doesn't mean the right course of action is being taken.

The TBUG is concerned that the yellow bike sign is being used by TRC to create a defacto bike lane.

This is not what anyone wants.

We can have a Bicycle Awareness Zone (BAZ), which is what the yellow sign is for, or a bike lane, with a white bike sign and proper lane markings.

But, it must be remembered that the Department of Transport does not support the BAZ and will not fund any.

The photographs above show the yellow road markings in the gutter, which is not where they belong, and positioned to the left of the carriageway, as if to tell cyclists and motorists that that is 'our place' and 'keep out of the way' of 'the real traffic', which of course is the motorised variety.

Not on TRC.

In the Noosa shire these would be scrubbed off the road under the direction of their council employed Bicycle Officer.

TBUG is raising this and related issues with TRC and will keep cyclists posted.

Riding to work is ‘wheelie’ fun

The Toowoomba DPI won the 2008 Queensland Ride to Work workplace prize.

Well done DPI, and a challenge to other Toowoomba workplaces for 2009.

Here is the story from the Bike Victoria site:

Toowoomba staff are seeing the benefits of riding their bikes to commute to work. Feeling healthy, saving money and reducing carbon, were just three great reasons to participate.

DPI&F joined in with other departments such as NRW, EPA, Sport and Rec, Health, and Transport.

Twenty-five staff gathered at the Leslie Research Centre to support National Ride to Work Day, with a total of 16 riders registering and making their commute to work as part of their day.

The lunch time event was jointly run by DPI&F’s Bicycle Users Group and Leslie Research Centre Social Club, with Rabobank kindly donating spot prizes. Awards were presented by DPI&F Bicycle User Group’s Shirley Jones, and won by first time rider Donna Hocroft for “Best Effort”, and the “Best Helmet Hair” award was graciously accepted by Douglas Lush who travelled the greatest distance.

It was estimated that over 30,000 riders registered for National ride to Work Day 2008, with over 200 workplaces in Queensland alone. PIB and Leslie Research Centre were joined this year by Hermitage Research Station. Toowoomba’s workplace coordinator Matt Davis said, “We have gained a core set of riders from last year’s event that now regularly ride to work, and we have formed a workplace Bicycle User Group here in Toowoomba. With ongoing support from DPI&F’s Health and Wellness program, we hope to gain more workplaces across the state next year”.

See the previous post for photos of the winners here:

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Travelling by bike

Here are a few bike travel stories worth a look at, either to inspire travels or to see what others get up to.

This one is a small selection of UK tandem traveling tales:

This is a story from a recumbent rider, but not 'just' a recumbent, a leather sofa forms the basis of this 'bike'. An amusing tale of serious cycling:

And this is an account, found in The Australian, of the bike hire system in Seville, Spain.

I am standing on a footpath in Seville, studying a street map, when a shrill bell jerks me away from the printed tangle of spaghetti purporting to be streets.

I glance up to see a glaring young woman astride a red-and-white bicycle heading straight for me. I leap out of her way just in time to land in the path of a neatly suited businessman shrilling the bell of an identical bike heading in the opposite direction.

I try being indignant (always a first resort) but my partner, who has somehow avoided this onslaught of vicious cyclists, points out I have been standing on a clearly painted bike path. Indeed, the 2m-wide footpath is painted green and has stick-figure bike riders stencilled on it at regular intervals.

I suggest we walk, avoiding green footpaths, to the nearest bar to have cerverzas and tapas and to discuss the issue. We are staying here for a month; we must accommodate these cyclists.

Read the whole story here:,25197,24636510-5002031,00.html

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Pannier bags and saddlebags

Racing bikes need no saddle bags or panniers, and are fairly well serviced with small innertube sized bags that slot under the seat but what about commuters, shoppers and tourers?

Well, even these sections of the bike luggage market are well catered for with many good quality and reasonably priced bags widely available but what about the eccentric who wants a canvas a leather bag?

There are not many, maybe only a handful, of canvas bag manufacturers in Australia, and we've put in all those we can find in this list but there are some very interesting small, and not so small, firms overseas.

Here is a list of all we could find in a concentrated search of the Internet. One Australian bag maker is known only via the magazine Australian Cyclist and we've included their phone number, the only means of communication with them.

Please send in any additions, especially Australian saddlebag and pannier manufacturers, to the TBUG email: (cutnpaste into your email program).

Canvas saddlebags and panniers:

Doug Thompson and Silke Smaglinski: High-tech pack canvas with reinforced double floors and a long list of special features. (02) 6247 7117

Toowoomba bike sharing project

Sorry, too advanced for here but have a look at this little story.

BARCELONA, Spain — In increasingly green-conscious Europe, there are said to be only two kinds of mayors: those who have a bicycle-sharing program and those who want one.

Over the last several years, the programs have sprung up and taken off in dozens of cities, on a scale no one had thought possible and in places where bicycling had never been popular.

For more go here:

TBUG social rides

The last Sunday ride saw 22 riders turn out for a near perfect but slightly windy 29 km ride.

The next ride is on Sunday 16 November and will leave from the usual spot outside the Oxygen Cafe in Ruthven Street and Little Street at 7.00 am.

The ride will be approx 50 km, passing Wellcamp School, Bunkers Hill School and back through Wyreema.

Noel will be 'channeling' Margaret with the directions.

For a 50km ride you need a water, suncream, be puncture-ready, a mobile is always good, and an energy snack, so either bring a bar or fruit or buy something at the Wyreema Store where the group will have a short break.

Bike skills training course run by I-Ride

I-RIDE will be hosting another Skills class on Saturday 29 November
TIME - 8.00am - 10.00am
COST - $10.00 per person
WHERE - Tait St (Jahnke Transport yard)...head out Taylor St, turn left into Boundary Rd, 2nd Street on the right, just pass the TWBA Hockey Grounds.

Each rider must bring their bicycle, bike helmet, shoes, water, sunscreen, snack food and Peter has asked that you visit I-Ride shop on Ruthven Street to 'book in' so they know how many people to cater for.

What will you learn? How to ride in a group, cornering, braking, safety tips, bike handling skills and other vital matters.

Plenty of time for questions too...last time 33 riders from 8yrs to 60yrs turned and had a great morning.

There were quite a few TBUG riders who attended the last session and the consensus was that it was worth going to, especially if you have trouble working out how to use clipless pedals, cycle while looking behind, or feel a bit 'unstable' generally.

Please do not forget to book-in with your name on the list.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Cycling to work good for you

Two wheels better than four

By: Julie Hatfield 'Weekend Australian' story 8 November 2008.

Riding to work can be safer than you think and there are lots of reasons to do it.

Fancy cutting your stress levels, getting fit and saving on fuel costs all at the same time?

Julie Hatfield believes the more people ride, the more motorists will become aware of cyclists and the safer it will be.

Then maybe it's time to discover the pleasure of riding a bike and join the 1.68 million-plus Australians who cycle to work.

Local and international research presented at a cycling safety seminar in Sydney in September has revealed that as cycling participation increases, a cyclist is far less likely to have a collision with a motor vehicle or suffer injury or death. The reduction in accidents is not just because there are fewer cars on the road, but also because motorists seem to change their behaviour and drive more safely when they see more cyclists.

Studies in many countries have shown the number of motorists colliding with walkers or cyclists doesn't increase proportionally with the number of people walking or riding. For example, a community that doubles its cycling numbers would expect a one-third drop in the per-cyclist frequency of a collision with a motor vehicle.

Read the whole story from The Australian here:,25197,24613432-5010800,00.html

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Bike parts for sale

Bicygnals front and rear set of taffic signals.

Please note that at least two BUG members have these same signals and think they are 'a good deal'. It might not be a good idea to rely on these, especially in Toowoomba, but they are a real boon, especially at night. There is nothing as clear as a hand signal, but these can assist in delivering the message.

See the web page here:

As featured on BBC Radio 2 and UK Sunday morning TV show, "Something For The Weekend", Bicygnals indicator lights are the very first and only product of their kind. Offering not only reasonably priced, ultra bright front and rear bicycle lights for night time riding, but ALSO front and rear indicating, wirelessly at the push of a single button at the handlebars.

Designed in London, by Gavin Thompson Design, with modern ergonomic lines, the lights detach easily from their bracket, and clip together for easy storage in their own carry bag. There are no wires. No fuss. Installation takes about 5 minutes, and all the tools and batteries needed to get started come with the box.

Bicygnals indicator lights allow the cyclist to signal turns to oncoming and rear traffic, as well as other cyclists, well in advance of a turn, without either riding dangerously with one arm in busy traffic, or fear of an arm signal being missed in the dark.

Contact: Anne 4690 2636
Reason for sale: I bought myself some indicator lights for my bike – unfortunately they are not suitable for drop handlebar road bikes. They would be perfect for commuter bikes, especially in busy traffic.
Price: $70 or near offer.

DPI Toowoomba Ride to Work Event

Just as cyclists gathered at the Toowoomba Art Gallery Gardens for the first ever public Ride to Work breakfast in Toowoomba, so the DPI cyclists also gathered at their DPI lair in western Toowoomba.

Here are two photographs, showing a few of the lunchtime participants and the two Rabo Bank winners.

Congratulations to the Toowoomba DPI... just remember, there is a Toowoomba BUG Perpetual Trophy up for grabs in 2009, but you'll have to beat the 2008 Pacific Seeds record to be a winner.

Friday, 31 October 2008

The '2009 Workplace Challenge' begins

If Pacific Seeds can win the prize with 10 riders, equating to 10 percent of their workforce joining the inaugral 'Ride 2 Work day', then what about Toowoomba's biggest employers?

The gloves are down... the challenge is there... who will take the 'Wheel of Perpetual Motion', in 2009?

Congratulations to the Pac' Seeds team for winning the first ever Toowoomba BUG trophy.

We look forward to increased competition in 2009, and an increase in both riders and employer support for the healthy approach to getting to work.

On yer Pac' Seeds.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Toowoomba: Ride to Work Breakfast

The 2008 Toowoomba Ride to Work Breakfast was the first public 'R2W' event we have held. Of course, individual workplaces have held their own R2Ws over the past few years.

Toowoomba BUG would like to thank all the sponsors, the Toowoomba Regional Council, who helped make it all happen and Michael from the Oxygen Cafe, who assisted with hot drinks and food.

The Mayor, Peter Taylor, came and spoke to riders, Education Queensland spoeksperson, Mr Phil Cook, spoke of the need to increase cycling, and gave breakfasters an insight into his early introduction to cycling, and Qld Transport's Mr. Steve Hart handled the inaugral TBUG Awards.

All-in-all, a good time was had by all, and it's laid the ground for an even better event next year.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Bikes for sale

The TBUG is happy to post supporters 'for sale' advertisements for free, so long as a photo and contact number is supplied to the TBUG email, with full details of the gear to be sold and full name and address and phone number/s.

To kick this new feature off, there are two older bikes for sale.

1) Apollo Delta racing bike $200

2) Raleigh boys mountain bike. $120

Both bikes are in very good condition.

Contact 0420 676 578

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Southbank to Southport bike ride October 12

Join other Toowoomba cyclists on the annual Brisbane, Southbank to Southport, bike ride.

This is an ever expanding annual event to raise money for heart and diabetes research, as well as publicising the benefits of cycling.

This is not a race, so you can go at your own pace.

The organisers provide 'smoko' and lunch, as well as roadside marshalls all along the route, support vehicles for those who may fall-by-the-wayside, and a very good atmosphere.

TBUG social riders could easily manage this event, and quite a few did last year.

See the Bicycle Queensland website for all details and application details:

Toowoomba Community Breakfast R2W Day

TBUG is organising a Toowoomba Community Breakfast for the October 15 National Ride to Work Day.

Please sign up with Bicycle Victoria as a participant in the national event, but please also rsvp your intention to join the Toowoomba breakfast, just put 'breakfast' in the subject section, as soon as possible, and email TBUG direct to:

Date: Wednesday October 15
Time: 6.30 am - 7.30 am
Venue: Toowoomba Art Gallery Garden, Little Street (opposite Oxygen Cafe)
RSVP: Breakfast confirmation to
Phone: 4639 6130

Please note: You will have to cutnpaste the email address into your email, it doesn't link from here.

National Ride To Work Day October 15

Toowoomba BUG joins R2W Day 2008

Toowoomba BUG has secured public liability cover from Bicycle Queensland in order to meet Toowoomba Regional Council insistence on at least $10 million public liability coverage, just to be able to meet at the Art Gallery Garden.

A sign of the times, no doubt.

BUG supporters will have been sent an email with the details, which will be posted on this blog site else where, also.

There is still time to register to be in the running for a number of prizes.

If you belong to a workplace, like Toowoomba DPI or USQ, who are organising a workplace event, then use their 'team number' to register, but if your workplace has not yet entered a team, you can do either:

1) See your employer and discuss the workplace registering, and use that team number

2) Register as an individual and come along to the TBUG breakfast.

Registrations for National Ride to Work Day 2008 are now open!

Register as a participant

Register as a participant for National Ride to Work Day 2008 by just clicking on the National Ride to Work Day logo. All registrants go in the draw to win one of 16 Trek Bikes!

Register before 30 September to be in the running to win one of four holiday vouchers courtesy of Island Cycle Tours in Tasmania valued at $1000, plus a $250 travel voucher to get you there!*

Register as a Workplace Coordinator

Does your workplace need someone to help get more people riding to work in the lead up to National Ride to Work Day 2008? Sign up to become a Workplace Coordinator. By registering as a Workplace Coordinator you will receive a free promotional kit to help you advertise your workplace event.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Toowoomba's 'Heritage Treasures' launch

The TBUG never sleeps.

On Sunday 11 May, while others were bringing cups of tea and breakfast in bed to their mother, TBUG supporters were busy getting a number of bicycles ready for the launch of the new Toowoomba Regional Council booklet, Toowoomba's Heritage Treasures 2008.

Deep within the booklet, on page 13, picture D3, the reader will observe the last remnants of the old Toowoomba Foundry bike sheds, sadly with three motorbikes parked there and no bicycles in sight at all.

This fine piece of industrial archeology was nominated by James McDonald, TBUG supporter.

James was also asked if he could supply a few old bikes for the launch, which was held at Platform 9 at 10.00 am. See the two pictures above.

The launch went well, and Sue Englart, the source of the idea, gave a great speech as did Joe Ramia and Bob Goodwin, the MC.

The Toowoomba Chronicle has also agreed to run a story on the bike sheds.

A number of bikes were taken to the bike sheds and the Chronicle photographer worked his magic.

Although a mere remnant of what was there during the foundry's best days, this little corner of a past cycling history is worth keeping.

When the site is redeveloped, it would be good to see this little shed returned to its former glory, with the now gone 'lower hooks' replaced and the 'front from back' dividing bar, to prevent the bikes hanging too far forward, welded back into place too.

TBUG meeting with TRC

The TBUG is to meet with senior officers of the new Toowoomba Regional Council in May.

Having raised concerns with the TRC about the Clifford Gardens roundabout we have now been invited to meet with TRC.

Subject to time limits we hope to raise the following issues:

1) Clifford Gardens roundabout and similar traffic danger points

2) The new TRC edict that stopped the TBUG social rides being advertised in the Saturday council advertisement in the Toowoomba Chronicle

3) An update to the old TCC Cycle Strategy

4) The formation of the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) as agreed to by the previous council

5) The creation of a Nelson Street to Highfields cycle path in partnership with Queensland Transport and the Main Roads Department

TBUG will keep you all informed of the outcomes via email and this blog site.

More bikes sold than cars-again

By Australian Cyclist : 01-Mar-2008

Cycling has become the fourth most popular physical activity, with more than 1.6 million Australian adults cycling in 2006, an increase of 17% from 2001. Census figures also show many Australians have also rediscovered the bicycle as a commuter. "Cycling trips to work grew at an average of 22% across Australian capital cities, with Melbourne soaring 42% between 2001 and 2006," added Fishman. The heaviest growth in cycling has occurred in inner-city areas with better bicycle infrastructure.

*Over 50% of car trips in Australian cities are under 5km and 30% are less than 3km.
*The majority of children's car trips to school are less than 3km.
*Transport is responsible for 34% of household greenhouse gas emissions.
*Medibank Private research shows physical activity for just 30 minutes a day could save the Australian health-care system $1.5 billion a year.
*Annual government road spending: $7.5 billion. Cycling infrastructure: $100 million.
*Australians currently riding to work save $72 million annually in traffic congestion.

Full story here:

Grey-Nomads-on-Bikes here at last

Go away

By Australian Cyclist : 01-Mar-2008

Midget Solo Bushtrekka
What we'd really love is enough time off to go test the Midget Solo Bushtrekka, but until then we pretty impressed that the compact, collapsible and lightweight campertrailer for bicycles that has been eight years in the making has finally made it onto the market.

Available from January this year and retailing for $1199, the Bushtrekka weighs in at just under 20kg in its compact form and can apparently be easily towed behind a bicycle. In less than two minutes it also offers an off the ground, sleep-ready bed.

Full story here:

Bicycle turning signals here at last

As featured on BBC Radio 2 and UK Sunday morning TV show, "Something For The Weekend", Bicygnals indicator lights are the very first and only product of their kind. Offering not only reasonably priced, ultra bright front and rear bicycle lights for night time riding, but ALSO front and rear indicating, wirelessly at the push of a single button at the handlebars.

Designed in London, by Gavin Thompson Design, with modern ergonomic lines, the lights detach easily from their bracket, and clip together for easy storage in their own carry bag. There are no wires. No fuss. Installation takes about 5 minutes, and all the tools and batteries needed to get started come with the box.

Bicygnals indicator lights allow the cyclist to signal turns to oncoming and rear traffic, as well as other cyclists, well in advance of a turn, without either riding dangerously with one arm in busy traffic, or fear of an arm signal being missed in the dark.

Bicygnals lights are that rarest of thing in a product - Great Design meets Great Concept meets Modern Technology. The kind of clever simplicity in a product that makes you say, "Now why didn't I think of that?"

Bicygnals indicator lights come with a host of features; flashing or continuous modes, indicator lights only (front or rear lights disabled - so you can use them in the daytime or low light without draining the battery), and a warning when batteries are running low.

See the web page here:

See here for an Australian discount:

Friday, 9 May 2008

Spokes vision for cycling in Christchurch

Toowoomba seems to have a sister city in New Zealand if you have a read of this:

Spokes is developing a vision or "manifesto" for cycling in Christchurch. These "Top 10 initiatives" are what we would like to see happen to make Christchurch a cycling friendly city. We are inviting feedback from Spokes members and other interested parties. It is proposed that the final statement incorporating feedback will be adopted at the Spokes AGM on Tuesday 20 May.



Spokes considers that the following measures are necessary to improve the quality of the existing cycling environment in Christchurch, and to achieve sustainable growth in the number of city cyclists in the medium and long term. These measures apply to facilities, areas and programmes administered by the Christchurch City Council, adjoining Districts, the Canterbury Regional Council, and State Highways administered by Transit NZ, as well as other cycling facilities and initiatives within the greater Christchurch area.

The proposed measures are not listed in order of priority as we consider that an integrated approach incorporating all these actions and outcomes is needed to improve the current conditions for cycling in Christchurch, and to increase participation on the future. In combination the measures provide a vision for cycling that will form the basis for Spokes cycling advocacy. Spokes will identify particular priorities within these measures from time to time.

1) Encourage more cycle-friendly land use and development planning

Planning, urban design and growth management and infrastructure provision that support walking, cycling and public transport use and encourages people to live near where they work, shop, and play.

2) Lower urban speed limits and traffic calming

30 km/h speed limits in downtown streets and selected residential roads, part-time school speeds and physical changes to the road environment in key locations to reduce the speed and volume of motor traffic.

3) Make the central city more cycle-friendly

Improve the central city environment for cycling, including through traffic calming and speed and parking restrictions, safe through-routes and traffic-free corridors and linkages. Develop convenient cycle parking facilities and a CBD "bike station" for cycle commuters.

4) Audit and maintain the existing cycle network

An ongoing programme to monitor existing components of the cycle network, and maintain or enhance its condition.

5) Continue cycling network improvements

Continue to improve and expand the city's overall cycle network, in particular by addressing pinch points, improving intersections, removing car parking that is an impediment to safe cycling, completing "missing links", and expanding "bikes on buses" facilities.

6) Provide more off road and separated cycle corridors

Develop convenient cycle routes and linkages that are segregated from traffic, including: physically separated lanes in or adjoining road corridors, railway rights of way, parks, waterway margins, and quiet streets; using land purchases and under-passes/over-bridges to provide linkages where necessary.

7) Identify and promote model cycle routes that will increase cycling participation

Identify key cycle routes (both on and off road) that are suitable for development as model cycle ways for increasing cycling participation, ensure these are of a good standard, and promote them through a variety of methods, including signage and marking, maps, householders and other advertising, and school and work visits.

8) Strongly promote sustainable travel plans

Travel management programmes for schools, major businesses, other large organisations, unions and employer associations, to encourage greater use of walking, cycling and public.

9) Promote road user education and improve enforcement

An ongoing programme to highlight key road user behaviour/ safety messages to the respective groups and to enforce traffic regulations and bylaws that affect cycling safety and convenience.

10) Expand the number of city cycling events and promotions

A greater range of initiatives supporting cycling, such as bike rides, social marketing, cycle tours, training sessions, school promotions and public events.

Visit 'Spokes' here:

The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability

The Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability

Find out about this group here:

Join a cycling tour

Are you interested in finding a unique way to approach youth and engage them on sustainability issues?

Each tour will have teams of 15 - 20 amazing, motivated, and funky riders setting off in November and January tours. This year our tours will travel around Victoria and New South Wales performing plays and providing workshops on sustainability and social justice issues! WOOT WOOT! Guess what? You could be that very person! Oh yes you can...

Give me the low down

Riders on the sustainable storm will live and work in a mobile community working together to not only "be the change you want to see in the world", but also inspiring and encouraging youth in Australia to make positive changes.

Tour members will all work together to create workshops about sustainable and social justice issues they want to create awareness on, as well work together to help coordinate presentations and places to sleep in various communities. During this time you will connect with communities you travel through, learn about the challenges they face, suggest possible solutions, and hear solutions they are implementing. Throughout your entire journey you will inspire people across Australia to empower positive change in their lives and local communities What's better than that?

See more here:

Sunday, 27 April 2008

TR Council ignores the truth about cars and bicycles

The response in today's Chronicle from our TRC to the roundabout story is less than helpful.

Their spokesperson said they had considered cyclists in the road traffic mix.

TBUG begs to differ and the evidence is there for all to see.

Perhaps they need to read this story from the Courier Mail, and get on a bike to see what it is really like here in Toowoomba.

"Time to look both ways in the debate over who owns the road"

Courier Mail: Amy Schramm

April 24, 2008 12:00am

YOU either love them or loathe them. They are an expression of our freedom - two-wheeled environmental warriors or the cockroaches of the open road. Cyclists.

There seems to be no grey area on the subject, people are divided and with division comes conflict – between car and bicycle.

In recent years there has been a marked increase in this so-called cycle-rage.

Read the whole story here:,23739,23587545-27197,00.html

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Toowoomba needs 'green bike lanes' for safety

Below are some links to the Noosa attempts to make cycling safe.

Do take the time to visit them all and consider how much safer cycling in Toowoomba could become if our council started to think seriously about 'cycling'.

A new approach that says "cycling is OK":

And this is how to do it:

Green bike lanes:

Bicycle Awareness Zone (BAZ):

Sweeping bike lanes:


Fancy cycling?:

As well as these innovative ideas from Noosa, have a look at this short video clip from the 'Portland Box' cycle safety approach:

Monday, 21 April 2008

Winter means 'light up'

The major article below has been borrowed from Bicycle Queensland because the message is simple but very powerful and there seems little point in paraphrasing it.

We have three quality bike shops in Toowoomba, all of whom can advise riders on what is available and what would suit your lighting needs, and pockets.

See what Bicycle Victoria says about some quality battery lights here:

To be fair to other roads users, as well as looking after our own interests, we have to make sure we can be seen by drivers.

See what Queensland drivers say about bikes-without-lights:

Riding at night without lights also lowers the reputation of bike riding in the eyes of other road users – including those who ride bikes.

A survey of 4 500 drivers in Queensland confirmed that motorists find it frustrating when bike riders don’t use lights at night. The survey (RACQ October 2006) put riders without lights at night at 7th on the top ten annoying things for motorists. In this survey, riding at night without lights was the bike rider behaviour that was most annoying for drivers.

Visit the article below here:

A roadside survey conducted in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney has revealed that thousands of bike riders are riding at night without proper lights.

The study which logged 1,220 riders on roads after sunset in the four centres showed that 65% of riders had both lights, 17% had only one light and 19% had no lights.

The study revealed some differences between the centres.

  • Brisbane had the most riders with lights. 76% had both lights. 11% had only one light and 13% had no lights.
  • In Sydney 69% of riders had lights. Only 11% had no lights - the lowest number nationally.
  • In Canberra 68% of riders observed had both lights and 80% had at least one light.
  • Melbourne riders were least compliant. Only 59% had both lights and 22% had none.

"These results are very disappointing, giving us an indication of what is happening all around the country. The steady growth in bike riding across Australia is a positive thing, but now there are thousands of people who are putting themselves at risk by riding without lights at night," Harry Barber, spokesperson for the National Light Up! campaign run by member based bike riding organisations across Australia, said.

"Bike lights prevent collisions. Everyone who rides on the roads at night must fit them to warn other road users and protect themselves," Mr Barber said.

"We are asking for police bike patrols across Australia to help us encourage everyone who rides at night to have working lights," he said.

"Bike lights today are relatively cheap and so much better than they used to be. There really is no excuse not to have them if you are riding at night," Mr Barber said.

A test of widely available bicycle lights conducted with Choice magazine and representatives from the police, the RACV, road authority and bicycle retailers and riders showed that you can get a great set of lights for $60.

BQ members can pick up an adequate set of commuting lights for $36 from BQ.

BQ membership details here:

Safety First: a city that understands

The TBUG Hazard Inspection Team (HIT) will keep pressing on with the task of logging Toowoomba's danger points for road users.

Of course, our HIT squad will focus on the dangers to cyclists but if the road is safer for cyclists it has to be safer for drivers too, so we all win.

In the meantime, in other cities there are planners who do try to make a real difference.

Some live here in Australia, some overseas.

Where BUG supporters find examples of forward thinking we can post links here, for all to read.

To kick this off, have a look at these links below:

This is a link to read about 'Portland Boxes' in Portland, Oregan, USA. A 'Portland Box' is a simple idea that allows space for bicycles at traffic lights, placing riders ahead of the vehicles where all can see them. This is well worth a visit and a few questions to the new TRC about trialling them here:

This is a page from the City of Portland explaining what a Portland Box is:

This is a snapshot article:

This provides a small slide show of the development of the Portland Box:

Please take some time to look at these pages too.

Michael Yeates is known to the people who started the T-BUG some years ago. Michael came and spoke to Toowoomba cyclists about how to organise to create a better city environment for cycling. Perhaps it's time to ask him back?

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Only in Toowoomba: the question begging to be asked is 'why?'

Where, but in a major regional Australian city, could a brand new (but far too narrow) cycle lane end at the point where it could easily be extended for another couple of miles?

Should the rider of this recumbent have parked and walked the rest of his way, or should he have been allowed to continue in this massive, safe, empty space that just begs to be marked off as a cycle lane?

Far more important to provide parking space where no one needs to park, so it seems.

On yer planners.

New roundabout: accident waiting to happen

The recently completed roundabout at Anzac Avenue, Hursley Road and Holberton Streets is an accident waiting to happen, according the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group (T-BUG).

Following a complaint to the group from a Toowoomba cyclist, a working party of T-BUG cyclists, the hazard inspection team, spent Sunday 20 April conducting a site inspection, taking photographs and traffic lane measurements.

Their verdict?

It would appear that hundreds of thousands of rate and tax dollars have been spent speeding-up the vehicle traffic, when it should be slowing down at such a major intersection, and the humble bicycle has never once been considered by the planners.

Road safety for all road users, which should be the starting point of all road design, has been totally neglected, according to the T-BUG hazard inspectors.

At no point, on any approach to the roundabout, can any cycle logos be found painted on the road. No road space has been allocated for bicycles, rather, it has all been devoted to motor vehicles.

Traffic on Anzac Avenue, going towards James Street, is funnelled into a high-speed lane by-passing the need to negotiate the roundabout.

The lane is far too narrow to provide bicycles with the 1.25-1.5 metres required at 60 kph. With large concrete road dividers on one side and the curb on the other, coupled with the road rage some Toowoomba road users exhibit, this all ensures a bad outcome for a cyclist is not too far away.

A cyclist, coming from Holberton Street to James Street, has to make their move off the roundabout and attempt to cross this high speed Anzac Avenue traffic coming up on their left hand side.

During the T-BUG inspection, at a low traffic time of day, it was clear that car drivers are going far too fast in the available space to be able to accommodate slower moving cyclists, who are as entitled to the same road space as other road users.

T-BUG believes the Holy Grail of road design, the Austroads “Guide to Traffic Engineering Practice Part 14- Bicycles” has not been consulted.

Toowoomba’s new councillors are being asked to pay attention to this problem, left to them by their predecessors, and are invited to meet with T-BUG supporters, on site and with the TRC design team.

This lack of regard for cycle road safety cannot be repeated, and T-BUG supporters are aware Council is considering a similar massive road rearrangement at Hume and Stenner Streets, already the focus of much anger from many Hume Street residents.

Also inspected by the T-BUG hazard inspection team was the new Ruthven and Alderley Street intersection, where a dedicated cycle lane has been created.

Unfortunately, the “Part 14” requirement for cycle lanes has been ignored once again with the bike lane only 900mm wide at some points, and no provision made for bike lanes for left or right turning riders.

Going south, past the Shell garage towards Nellie Robinson Park, the cycle lane ends abruptly, where, with a little forethought, consultation, and good planning a full width bike lane could have been created.

T-BUG is lobbying for a full width cycle lane from Nelson Street to Highfields, a simple pioneer project to serve as the central spine to the much needed cycle infrastructure the new Toowoomba Regional Council, the Department of Main Roads and the Department of Transport need to be working together on, with T-BUG supporters.

There are National, State and Toowoomba Cycle Strategies, all designed to make cycling safer and more attractive as a legitimate form of transport, as well as “Austroads Part 14” to inform our road planners but, for some inexplicable reason, Toowoomba still suffers from “cycle blindness”, with Toowoomba cyclists under threat of severe injury and death as a result.

T-BUG urges all road users, not just cyclists, to lodge a Department of Transport Hazard Report on both the Anzac Avenue and the Ruthven-Alderley intersections with their local “Road safety-Hazards” team at Queensland Transport, PO Box 645, Toowoomba 4350, to ensure we can all start to share our roads safely.

The reporting form can be found at:

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Department of Transport forms and action

All cyclists in this BUG region should be aware of these Qld Department of Transport (DoT) forms:

The Toowoomba BUG team have just asked the DoT to recreate these forms in Word format so cyclists, and motorists for that matter, can fill them out and email them to the relevant person.

Unfortunately, the forms still have to be printed off and faxed or posted. Ultimately, we are suggesting to DoT that they be emailed; why would someone with the Internet in front of them want to print-and-post forms these days, after all?

However, we have managed to get a Toowoomba local address to post these forms to in the meantime. Please make sure you identify the 'hazard' or 'incident' element and preface that with the section that will deal with both, "Road safety":

Hazard Report

Addressed as below and sent to:

Road Safety – Hazard Report

Queensland Transport

PO Box 645

Toowoomba Q 4350


Incident Report

Addressed as below and sent to:

Road Safety – Incident Report

Queensland Transport

PO Box 645

Toowoomba Q 4350

It goes without saying, of course, that any breaking of the law or road accidents should be reported to the Police without delay.

Monday, 14 April 2008

20 April social ride

20 riders came on our last ride, where we welcomed Chris, Anne, Russell, Wayne, and Kevin.

The ride this month will be leaving from the Oxygen Cafe at 7:00 on Sunday 20 April.

The ride is 30km, along Taylor Street, through Charlton, past Wellcamp School, back of the Showgrounds, down South Street and back for coffee at the Oxygen.

As we will regroup a few times the faster riders may want to wait, loop back or do a lap around the town when they arrive back early.

We are aiming to keep our ride at a social pace (15 to 20 kph) so as to encourage all cyclists.

Bring tube or repair kit, water, pump, mobile, sun cream and some money.

Margaret-social ride convenor

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Keep cool equipment

This shoulder covering garment looks quite interesting. Take a trip to their web site and check it out.

Small Core Cooler: For personal cooling, fits adults with smaller shoulders. Comes in a variety of colors (yellow, red, blue, black, green), so please specify, but in reality color choices are probably limited. $49.95

The Core Cooler fits over your shoulders and around your neck. We sometimes think of it as the "thermal dickie" though the manufacturer likes to say "personal radiator." It is "charged" by soaking it in room-temperature water, which is absorbed by Polycrylamide crystals (non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and inert - these crystals are often used for water retention in landscaping). These crystals are compartmentalized over the body of the garment, with air channels running between the compartments. As your body heats up, the water absorbs the heat. The movement of air through the channels evaporates the warm water, carrying off the heat. These things really work, and we know this because the summers in Austin get hot.

The Core Cooler is easily donned and removed, and it is not necessary to remove one's shirt to do so. It has a slightly wet feel when first charged, but this quickly dissipates. Your upper body clothing will come out much dryer than without using a Core Cooler.

Made by 661, who normally makes gear for "extreme sports" people, the Core Cooler has been tested in demanding environments by fire fighters, athletes, and soldiers.
Accessories: Core Cooler, Small — $49.95 each.

Try their 'Sheik flap' too while you're there.

Where from?

Got your seat height right?

"Setting the correct seat height would seem to be such a fundamental part of cycling that you would have thought the boffins had agreed long ago on the best method. But you’d be wrong.

One thing all the experts agree on however is that if you get the height wrong, the effects can be catastrophic. A brand new study suggests that setting the height too low can decrease time to exhaustion by as much as 12 per cent.

Consequently cyclists with limited time on their hands might actually get more out of a shorter session by lowering their seats to a sub-optimal level so as to make it harder.

It’s an interesting theory, but even knowing how to get it wrong presupposes that you know how to get it right, and many don’t. Read on to find out exactly how to do it."

Read the whole article from the UKs Cycling Plus magazine here:

Cycle skills day April

Thanks go to the Toowoomba Triathlete Club for getting I-Ride to run the 'skills' day last Saturday at Jahnke Transport in Tait Street. Thanks to the Jahnke's too.

The training was two hours of building up from simple 'stopping' exercises, with tips on how to control the bike with cleated shoes on, to a more intense exercise where riders circled in pairs with an arm on-around (only if they were comfortable doing it) their partner. This built balance and trust... and was not to be repeated on the highway at all.

As an observer there, it was clear many riders were fairly new to riding, or newly returned after many years away, and certainly picked up new skills or understood better why something should, or should not, be done on a bike, on a road.

This is the sort of course we could encourage BUG riders to do if they are new to riding as a demonstration of our support for the 3Rs view of life-on-the-road.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Fraser Coast BUG invite

The Fraser Coast BUG have sent an invitation to Toowoomba BUGsters inviting us over there on
3&4 May 2008 for their 'River to River Ride'.

That's Burrum River to River Heads.

We can send you their flyer if you email requesting 'Fraser BUG' us at:

Or contact Fraser Coast BUG.

Web page:


Please note that you cannot email from the BLOG site addresses here- you have to email from your mailing account so just cutnpsate the addresses.

And the Fraser Coast web page does work, but again you'll have to cutnpaste it into your browser to work, apologies and the reasons are not obvious here.

Travel hints

This web site is worth a visit if you're thinking of cycling in China. There are no prices available on the web page, it's from the Chinese Embassy site, but if you contact the tours directly they can provide you with the details.

See here: Cycle in China-

Bicycle training this weekend

Skills Training ... Open Invite on behalf of the TWBA TRI CLUB.

This short course is being run by the I-Ride staff on behalf of the Toowoomba Tri athletes Club.

New riders, parents, kids and seasoned cyclists, Darren & Peter will be hosting a practical skills session next Saturday 5th April ... this is a good chance to learn how to handle your bike properly OR brush up on a few basic skills you seem to have forgotten.

DATE- 5 April Saturday 2008
TIME - 9am SHARP to 11am
COST -$10 each $5 tri club members.
WHERE -JAHNKE TRANSPORT, Tait St opposite the hockey grounds (Boundary Rd)
YOU - Bike, helmet, shoes, water, sunnies ... desire to learn more.

About 15 riders attended the last session put on by the TRI CLUB and I am happy to say there were 15 safer riders on the road after the class.

Thanks to the TRI CLUB as well.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

16 March but 19 riders leave town

On a slightly overcast morning 19 riders gathered at the Art Gallery gardens in anticipation of the Cambooya ride.

New riders again this month, welcome to all of you.

The prize for 'Most determined rider' must go to Rita-may who persevered with her borrowed stead, complete with 'clunking' stand, and is still determined to go and buy a 'real' hybrid bike for next months ride.

Two riders peeled off at pre-determined stages and 17 riders returned to the same hitching post area to coffee at the Oxygen Cafe.

New rides were discussed along with the rising tide of anger many riders find out on the road. Sgt. Col O'Shea's visit and talk were very much on the mind of one rider who had been targeted by a ute driver on his way home from work.

The incident was over so fast no number plate could be taken this time.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Sunday 16 March Social Ride

The last ride, a tour of outer Toowoomba, had 20 riders including some new faces. A big welcome to Ritamay, Marion, Andrew, Lesleigh and Brett.

We have a longer ride this month, starting at the Oxygen Café and riding up Herries Street, along West Street to Anzac Avenue, then on to Drayton, Cambooya turn off, Wyreema and back to Drayton, making it an almost round 49 km.

There will be a 10 to 15 minute break at Cambooya Park where you can buy a cool drink at the local store or bring fruit or bar for a snack.

Our coffee stop will be at the return destination, the Oxygen Café.

Just a reminder that we are a Social Riding Group and if you are a fast rider please be prepared to wait, or double back.

Our main aim is to introduce people to riding so you can go on to bigger and better things, or just a social outing, with exercise.

Please invite a friend along, or let others know of it.

All new Toowoomba Regional Council members are invited to join the ride to test the roadways.

We will leave from the Oxygen Cafe at 7:00 am., on Sunday 16 March.

Looking forward to seeing you all.

Remember to bring sufficient water, phone, pump, repair kit or tube and suncream.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

TBUGs '10 Questions' for TRC candidates

TRC Mayoral Candidates
None of the mayoral candidates returned the survey questions.
Peter Taylor was the only candidate to attend the meeting where he expressed considerable support for cycling overall, the objectives of T-BUG and the importance of the Bicycle Advisory Committee that T-BUG has been promoting to the old TCC.

Questions 10, 10a, 10b

We have decided against posting the response to questions 10, 10a and 10b for all candidates. Unfortunately, most candidates misunderstood the question and thought we were asking if they would commit to 'riding to work' when we simply asked them whether they either rode on a regular basis or would take up riding on a regular basis should they be elected. The truth is, most candidates reflect their age groups in the wider community, most of whom do not ride. The real value of this question was to get the TRC candidates to think about it rather than the almost inevitable answers that surfaced.

Returned surveys
The following candidates returned the '10 Questions' answering 'Yes' to all questions from 1-9:

The following candidates answered 'Yes' to most questions but 'No' to those adjacent to their names:
Huxley: 9
Marks: 5, 6
C. Taylor: 6, 7

The following candidate, Orford, answered 'Yes' to: 1, 4, 6, and left the rest blank.

The following TRC candidates did not respond to the questions but gave their support to cycling in general and the aims and objectives of the T-BUG and the need for the BAC:
In addition, candidate Cahill sought out a BUG representative to spend some considerable time with discussing both the BUG objectives and his views on cycling, of which he was very supportive.

Who attended the 9 March meeting?

There were 16 TRC candidates who attended the 9 March meeting:
Alroe, Barron, Beer, Cahill, Englart, Frizzell,Huxley, Ledbury, Marks, Michael, Orford, Smith, Sorenson, Williams, Yeates, (Peter) Taylor.

You have to make your own mind up on who to vote for using this information in conjunction with your other research on all these TRC hopefuls.

What were the '10 Questions' again?

T-BUGs ten questions for TRC candidates

1) Will you support Toowoomba’s growing cycling fraternity, by taking a leading role in the improvement of road safety and infrastructure, as outlined in the current TCC 'cycle strategy'?

2) Do you agree that the new regional council has a responsibility to participate in all aspects of national, state and local cycle policy and strategies?

3) Are you prepared to support the implementation of the current TCC 'cycle strategy' action points?

4) Should TRC help make this a cycle-safe and cycle-friendly region?

5) Can you support the Toowoomba BUGs 3Rs community awareness campaign, in relation to 'road user behaviour '?

[3Rs = same Road, same Rules, same Responsibilities] - for all road users

6) Do you support formation of the Toowoomba Bicycle Advisory Committee ensuring cooperation between TRC, relevant government agencies and the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group?

7) Do you support the community ideals as expressed within the TCC 2050 Plan?

8) Are you aware of the importance of 'end of journey facilities' to commuting cyclists, in encouraging more people to ride to work?

9) Are you aware of the need for increased secure bicycle parking throughout the TRC area?

10) Do you regularly ride a bicycle?

If No: If elected, are you prepared to start riding a bicycle on a regular basis, promoting the environmental, economic, social and health benefits of this alternative, efficient, low cost, low impact means of travel?

If Yes: If elected, are you prepared to keep riding a bicycle on a regular basis promoting the environmental, economic, social and health benefits of this alternative, efficient, low cost, low impact means of travel?

Toowoomba BUG meets TRC candidates

Cycling received strong support from sixteen Toowoomba regional council candidates who met with local cyclists today. Candidates came from across the region.

Interspersed between childhood memories of bike riding, including daring range descents and even more daring returns, the council candidates all expressed their support for the major aims and objectives of the Toowoomba Bicycle Users Group (T-BUG), according to TBUG co-ordinator David Allworth.

“T-BUG is very pleased to see candidates indicated their intention to progress the current Toowoomba Pedestrian and Cycle Strategy at a faster pace,” Mr Allworth said.

“We would be looking for the principles of this strategy to be applied across the region,” he said.

“The only mayoral candidate present, Mr. Peter Taylor, supported not only general improvements to cycling infrastructure but progressing a regional response to ensure cycling takes its rightful place as part of the solution to concerns, such as high fuel prices, personal health issues and greenhouse reduction targets,” he said.

Mr Allworth said: “Candidates clearly understood the concerns of city based cyclists as well as being aware of the difficulties posed by too narrow roads outside the city limits.”

“Pleasingly, it looks as if the new council will progress the recommendation from the outgoing Toowoomba City Council that a Bicycle Advisory Committee be formed, if these candidates are anything to go by,” he said.

“For our part, we hope to encourage the outlying towns in the new regional council area to create their own BUGs to work with us to ensure as much thought goes into cycle related matters in, say, Crows Nest, Highfields, Pittsworth, Clifton and Oakey as there clearly will be in Toowoomba.

“Anyone wanting details of how to start a BUG in any town or workplace should contact us by email at:,” Mr Allworth said.

"One of theT-BUG objectives is to build a network of BUGs across the region, to ensure all politicians work to shift the current emphasis of roads-for-cars to roads-for-all-users," Mr. Allworth said.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Competition for James?

Toowoomba citizens are used to seeing James belting around town on his pennyfarthing but is this snippet from the US website Adventure Cycling a bit of competition for James?

Have a read and make up your own mind:

One of the most amazing bicycle tours we've followed in recent years is British citizen Joff Summerfield's round-the-world ride on a penny farthing bicycle. How he has made it up some of those hills and over those rough and muddy roads is anyone's guess. Last we heard, as soon as he managed to get his visa in order Joff planned to head from Malaysia to the United States. Go here to find to Joff's main page, and then click away on the countries of your choice to see some truly stunning photography:

Cycle holiday in Indonesia

Have a look at this Indonesian cycling holiday web site. 1200 kms and 27 days on a bring-your-own bike supported holiday. This site is worth investigating and anyone who signs up is welcome to write a story for posting here.

Cycle South Sulawesi, January 2009, 1200 kms, 19 cycling days and 8 rest days:

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

What sort of person would want to charge bicycle registration?

The Federal Opposition spokesperson on sports, Mr. Pat Farmer, a Liberal MP from Campbelltown, Sydney, recently proposed a registration system for cyclists to be paid through bike shops by all cyclists over the minimum driving age. Mr. Brendan Nelson, the Liberal Party leader, has seen his popularity with electors go downwards ever since, with his personal approval rating now sitting at it’s lowest level in memory.

The Cycle Promotion Fund disagrees with the Liberal Party spokesperson, "There is no country around the world which has registration for bicycles, and the revenue raised would be quite low," said the organisation's programme director, Rosemarie Speidel.

Preliminary results from a study undertaken on behalf of the Department of Health and Ageing found cyclists saved more than $82 million in public health costs, almost $64 million in traffic congestion-related costs and $9 million in greenhouse gas-related costs.

Pat Farmer's Liberal Party proposal for bicycle registration risks raising yet another barrier to increasing the health and activity levels of Australians. A recent study commissioned by Medibank Private identified the cost of physical inactivity to the federal health budget at $1.49 billion each year and Governments are struggling to encourage more people to become active.

Research undertaken by the Cycling Promotion Fund for a soon to be released report, indicates that current commuter cyclists in our capital cities save the Government $9.2 million in greenhouse gas emissions, $63.9 million in reduced congestion costs, and another $71.2 million in health costs.

"Cycling levels in Australia need to be increased to address the health, environmental, fuel costs and traffic congestion problems. The suggestion to register cyclists simply places yet another barrier in front of someone who might be thinking about cycling" Rosemarie Speidel, Program Director of the Cycling Promotion Fund said.

In 2006 the Federal Government announced a subsidy of $1.5 billion to support motorists by providing incentives to drivers to convert to LPG and to encourage the use of ethanol-blended fuels by petrol stations by offering cash incentives. This policy has been as a response to higher petrol prices.

Given that 50% of our car trips are less than 5km in length, it appears to be good public policy to invest money to make our roads safer so children can cycle to school and parents do not have to drive them and to enable more people to commute by bike. Australian's have discovered the convenience of cycling to work, since 2001 the number of people cycling to work has increased 22% according to the latest census figures.

Governments at all levels should be investing to making it easier for people to cycle rather than introducing a levy. This will save Governments millions of dollars in health, congestion reduction and lower greenhouse gas emissions and enables people to reduce their petrol bills.

Surely, an intelligent solution that is in the national interest?

The countries that have the highest rates of bicycle friendliness, most notably the Netherlands and Denmark, do not charge any registration fee for cycling.

In fact, they understand the numerous savings to the economy that come from cycling. To this end, they have a much better record of providing financial incentives for choosing to cycle, like rebates on unused car parking spaces in the workplace. Governments have chosen not to impose such fees on cyclists for a number of important reasons.

In Australia, motorists’ registration fees contribute only partially to providing and maintaining roads. The cost of providing this infrastructure amounts to some $7 billion annually. The annual registration fee revenue amounts to a much lower $3.8 billion. Yet this provides only part of the picture. The real balance sheet shows a large net road deficit of $8.0 billion. Moreover, by including the costs of traffic congestion, the net road deficit climbs to $19 billion.

So, perhaps we need to register all those baby strollers, skateboards, roller skates, pedestrians, walking sticks and dogs to make up the gap?

A composite story with sources including: