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Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

What would make bike-riding easier for cyclists?

Bike renting in Paris

Credit: Pline / Wikimedia Commons

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Although I love my buses and trains, I do get a little jealous of cyclists sometimes. Yesterday I just missed my bus, and while I was waiting for the next one to come along (5 minutes, really not that long a wait) I counted 7 cyclists zooming past. At that point, I really wished I had a bike!

If you're riding a bike you're not at the mercy of someone else's timetable - when you're ready to go, you just go. You can avoid traffic by taking back streets, and it's a lot faster than walking.

There are, however, a lot of things we could do at a local planning level to make things easier for cyclists: better bike lanes, more education for motorists, better lighting on streets that cyclists use often.

The Victorian government has just announced that they'll be investing in new resources for cyclists, as part of their Cycling Strategy plan. I hope they're getting good advice from other cities which have already started down this path.

One place that's got it right is Amsterdam - one third of all journeys in the city there are by bicycle! This photo essay of Amsterdam cyclists by an American tourist shows the great diversity of riders there.

They've spent the last 3 decades transforming their city into a bike-friendly place where it's often faster and more convenient to take your bike instead of your car for basic journeys like going to work, shopping, taking the kids to daycare.

If I lived there, I'm pretty sure I'd be part of the 40% of people who ride to work. What would make it easier for you to get riding?