December 5th is the North Sydney by-Election and my name will be on the ballot for the Australian Cyclists Party. If you’d like to support me please check out my Pozible campaign, make a pledge or volunteer to help… but first, read why.
I believe that Australia is a place where we should all have the freedom to live happy and healthy lives. However, we are trapped with infrastructure that limits our mobility and costs us our health, our money, and stresses us out. My goal is to enable Australia to be healthier, happier, and safer by making our cities more walkable, rideable, and liveable.
We live in a democracy where every vote counts. Our governments don’t have a great track record of keeping promises. I want our votes to send a message to Canberra that we want our government to be accountable to yet another promise to build more liveable cities. We can improve the health of our families AND put money back in the public purse.
Get our city moving
My home electorate of North Sydney is the gateway from Sydney’s North to the CBD – the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge is one of the most travelled parts of the country.
However, when headed across the bridge, many Sydney-siders find themselves stuck sitting in congestion, which costs Australia billions. They are just some of the millions of people across Australia who sit in their cars and stress while they’re stuck on streets that look like carparks.
Investment in transport infrastructure that focuses on intermodal transport instead of single vehicle trips has a proven track record of reducing commute time and cost while increasing physical and economic activity. It gives people the opportunity to incorporate a walk or ride into their trip, which not only keeps them active, but boosts local businesses and reduces additional trips as people stop at cafes or a local shop during their commute.
Get our families moving
Kids who walk or ride to school have improved mental health, social wellbeing, educational outcomes, and are more independent and mobile. The community benefits by reduced traffic congestion and chauffeuring duties for parents, along with increased environmental sustainability and community liveability.
However, while I continually hear friends and family talk about how they’d like their families to incorporate riding or walking into their daily routine, they immediately follow up by telling me that they don’t feel it is safe or convenient with current infrastructure. When safety concerns for children arose in the Netherlands, they built better infrastructure – in Australia we just stopped being active. Since 1970 the number of kids walking or riding to school has dropped dramatically from about 80% to just 20%.
Kids aren’t the only ones affected. If you look at the roads and footpaths in Australia you’ll notice several significantly under-represented groups: women, kids, teenagers and older adults.
In so many areas, Australia is miles ahead of the rest of the world, but in this area we’re lagging. Each reward (on the right of the campaign page) represents an important statistic about cycling in Australia.
School and work commuting programs have already demonstrated that change is possible in Australia. However, these are still very limited. With federal government support, better infrastructure, and an organised approach, we can reintroduce a more active, mobile, and independent commute for our families.
We have the power to change, we can make a stand and use our democratic tools to signal to Australia that it’s time we catch up; it’s time that we prioritise a safe and active country.
Read more: Why aren’t more kids cycling to school? – The Conversation
Get the money flowing
Every time a person cycles or walks to work we are literally putting money in the bank to the tune of about $21 per bike return commute and $8.50 walking.
We’re spending billions building more toll roads while over half the car journies are very short. It’s costing economy for every kilometre while in turn the extra congestion is causing stress and we’re passively sitting in vehicles.
We are currently far below government targets for bike infrastructure. It accounts for only 0.6% of road infrastructure spend while about 17% of Aussies are riding each week.
The great news is that small investments go a long way. Footpaths and bike paths cost a lot less to build and maintain than other modes of transport. Connecting our public transport to our homes, shops, and offices by providing safe walk/bike routes, bike parking, and a carry-on capability is a lot cheaper than building more road infrastructure. We can save time and money while becoming healthier and happier.
Read more: Bike riders save economy $21 on each commute – Sydney Morning Herald
You can help with a first preference vote
I’m running as a representative of the Australian Cyclists Party because I want to create change. Being on a ballot is just the first step.
The Liberal party are running unopposed by a Labor candidate, so I’m hoping we can boost the percent of first preferences as high as possible to signal to the major parties that there is a strong desire in our community for an evidence-based discussion on how to improve our lives and our cities.
I’m asking North Sydney to use their number one vote (regardless of where they put their second preference) to get our cities moving, our families moving, and the money flowing back into the bank.
If we’re lucky, we may even end up happier and healthier!
Read more: Dennis the Election Koala on “You can’t waste your vote!” – Carsten Burmeister
From being born in Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital to now being a home owner in Lane Cove I have spent most of my life in Sydney’s northern suburbs and have spent the better part of the last decade working (and commuting to) the CBD.
During my travels across Australia and around the world I have always been interested in city design and local culture. My trips to Europe and my time living in Vancouver showed me how a city can change and thrive when a concerted, evidence-based effort goes into improving its liveability.
I wrote my thesis on electoral systems and that has had an impact on the way I think about politics and the possibility of making positive changes in a healthy democracy.
If you were to find yourself enjoying a coffee with me, aside from cycling, I’d probably talk about technology, science, social justice, public policy, rationality, economics, and eventually I’d get to the delights of travel, good music, or the finer points of brewing a beer.
– The Facts about Transport in Australia
– Is this a “single-issue party”
– ACP Policy approach References:
– Intermodal Transport
– Ministerial Statement: Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport
– Why aren’t more kids riding to school?
– Bike riding saves economy $21 per trip
– You can’t waste your vote
– Effortless cycling: how do we make riding a bike normal?
– Traffic congestion contributing to employee stress
– Driving costs economy $0.30 per kilometre
– Sydney motorists unwilling to pay for more toll roads
– Getting women along for the ride