New book pushes for change of gears on cycling's future

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

A new book being launched at the University of Adelaide this week aims to help the community to better understand the importance of cycling to our future and that it's "here to stay".

The book, Cycling Futures, captures the current state of cycling research from Australia and New Zealand, with contributions from engineering, architecture, social sciences, the humanities, health, economics, and many other fields.

"The global interest in cycling is underpinned by three major concerns: health and well-being, congestion and liveability, pollution and climate change," says Dr Jennifer Bonham from the University of Adelaide's Department of Geography, Environment and Population, who is co-editor of Cycling Futures with Dr Marilyn Johnson from the Institute of Transport Studies, Monash University.

"Our book is concerned with the past, present and future of cycling – how our cycling culture arrived at this point, what the present challenges are for existing and would-be cyclists, and what changes can be made so that we can overcome those issues for the benefit of our future," Dr Bonham says.

Recent controversies around cycling in Adelaide continue to show the relevance of this discussion to our community, Dr Bonham says.

"In Australia, we’ve developed a culture in which car driving has become seen as the only viable mode of transport by the majority of the population. But it wasn't always that way. In the 1950s and '60s there were still many people riding their bikes for everyday journeys, but that information was never included in the transport studies or, consequently, transport planning of the time.

"Cities around the world today are grappling with issues of traffic congestion and urban sprawl, and Adelaide is no different," she says.

"Once governments implement policies aimed at achieving higher urban densities, moving towards more compact cities, then we have no choice but to diversify our travel options."

Dr Bonham points to cities such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Strasbourg as examples of strong government and public support for daily cycling.

"In Adelaide, it’s not unrealistic to expect that within 20 years, 25-30% of inner suburban journeys could be made by bicycle. Adelaide could be an ideal cycling city, especially if we have good road design and good regulations. Promoting cycling as a viable alternative is important to our transport future," she says.

Cycling Futures is now available for free download from the University of Adelaide Press.

The book will be launched at the University's Barr Smith Library on Friday 29 April by former Lord Mayor of Adelaide Stephen Yarwood.


Contact Details

Dr Jennifer Bonham
Senior Lecturer
Department of Geography, Population and Environment
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4655
Mobile: 0406 399 249

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762