What we stand for

Freestyle Cyclists would like to see all Australians enjoying cycling as a safe, fun and efficient way of getting around.

Let’s break that down a bit.

The Enjoyment of Cycling

Hey riders, why so serious? Cycling is a naturally enjoyable way to travel and experience your surroundings. We think it’s the best combination of freedom, speed, and convenience in any form of transport, and want all Australians to be able to enjoy it.

Safe

Cycling in Australia has a reputation, even amongst cyclists, that it is a dangerous activity. The statistics simply do not back this up. The Mandatory Helmet Law (MHL) serves to increase this perception and discourages cycling, which in turn has a negative effect on the health of the community that far outweigh the safety benefits of wearing a helmet.

Efficient & Fun

At the risk of sounding super-obvious, cycling is the cheapest, fastest environmentally friendly way to travel around. And the bonus is, is great for your health and inherently fun.

Helmet Choice

Forcing everybody to wear helmets makes some people less likely to ride, or give up altogether. The safest riders are those who go slowly – typical everyday cycling to get from A to B wearing everyday clothes or business clothes. These are the people who are most likely to give up cycling if forced to wear a helmet by law – so we discourage the safest cyclists off the roads. What Australia was left with after helmet law was a sport oriented cycling culture – the riskiest form of cycling. Helmet law is one of the barriers to making cycling mainstream, common for all ages and all types of people.

Protected Bike Lanes

On busy roads with fast moving motor vehicles, bicycles need to be physically separated from cars, trucks and buses. Giving cyclists a safe place to ride is essential if the majority of people are going to consider the bicycle for getting around. High quality protected bike lanes are wide enough to ride two-abreast or overtake.  Bike lanes need to continue through intersections and where possible, the traffic lights should separate turning motor vehicles and bicycles as well. This will will get many more people cycling.

Quieter Streets

On residential streets, shopping centres and around schools, we need less traffic and slower traffic. Eliminating rat-running through residential areas should be required policy everywhere in Australia. Bike lanes are not needed on the majority of streets, traffic calming is. As well as being safer for cyclists, children and pedestrians can move around their neighbourhood safely. For cars, the last short part of the journey is slower and sometimes a bit longer, but the rewards are safer, more pleasant places for everyone to live and move around.

Getting kids to school by car is helping to produce a generation of inactive, overweight children and storing up health problems for Australia. Schools need to be no-go zones for cars so it is safe for kids to walk and ride to school.

A little Bit About Us

Freestyle Cyclists was founded initially to pursue helmet law reform, because organisations supposedly dedicated to advancing cycling in Australia were doing the opposite – supporting a law that puts people off cycling.

We also noticed that there are no organisations in Australia that are specifically focussed on cycling as an every-day means of transport – sometimes called Utility Cycling. We just call it Cycling.  (There are actually some people doing this – BUGs generally, and the Bicycle Transport Alliance in Western Australia, for example). So as a national organisation we are filling this gap.  More on this…

Our Vision

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Throughout Australian cities, suburbs and towns, cycling as a favoured choice for short journeys.

Our urban landscapes transformed by active transport across all ages, cultures and gender.

An Australia where we can cycle without fear for ourselves or our children.

Foundations

Changing the Image – Back to the Future.

Cycling for all, not restricted to the fearless and sporty. Riding a bike is one of the safest healthiest and most enjoyable ways of getting around. With good urban infrastructure it is also the most convenient. Riding a bike does not require special clothing or safety gear, any more than walking does. Cyclists are regular people.

Helmets – a barrier to cycling.

We support choice. It is never right to force people to wear helmets, and deny them the benefits of bicycle riding should they choose not to.

We do not support the promotion of helmet wearing for everyday cycling. We categorically oppose laws requiring adults to wear helmets.

Bicycle helmets present a significant barrier to everyday cycling.

Infrastructure

We have footpaths for pedestrians, we need more cycle paths, physically separated from motor vehicles, for bicycle riders.

Where roads have low motor traffic volumes, they can be shared without separate cycle paths.

Shared roadspace needs to be properly designed, with appropriate speed limits.

Encouraging cycling – making it easy.

Cycling must become the easy choice.

This needs changes to legislation, enforcement and community attitudes. It needs changes to the way roads are designed.

We don’t tell people how they ought to travel. They will want to cycle as it becomes safe, convenient and normal to do so.

Safety

Pedestrians and cyclists are vulnerable – they are not dangerous or unsafe.

There is a hierarchy of the vulnerable on our roads, with pedestrians at the top, followed by cyclists, followed by motor vehicle occupants. The heavier the vehicle the less vulnerable the occupant. The less vulnerable can do the most harm to the more vulnerable.

The duty of care runs in the opposite direction. It is a given of civilized life that the stronger do not injure the weaker, whether with intent or just recklessly. This needs laws to support it.

We can be trusted to look out for ourselves without special rules.

A safe systems approach is the best way to ensure the vulnerable remain safe. Personal protection devices, such as helmets, are the least effective method of protection from injury. They should never be mandated.

Safe systems approaches recognise that humans are fallible and designs the physical environment around that.

We must never blame the victim when an incident does occur.

Rules and penalties

Road rules have evolved to facilitate the free movement of motor vehicles, while trying to limit their collateral damage. Very few rules are required for pedestrians and cyclists – they have very limited scope to cause harm to others.

Where penalties apply for breaking the rules, the penalty must be proportional to the potential harm caused to others by their breach.

The road rules need wholesale review to refocus on the duty of care towards vulnerable road users.

Active transport is a desirable societal aspiration. Road rules should foster, not hinder, its growth.

Some numbers from Copenhagen

65000000
Kilometers Traveled
2
Cyclist deaths per year
55
% of trips are by bike
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