As TravelSmart Officer, I have had a number of opportunities at work to get more people on bikes. I find riding a bicycle to be an effective way to look at future paths with staff from engineering and planning. I am pleased that staff still come riding with me for site visits when rain is forecast and just bring a rain jacket for light showers like the photo above. (Many people in Perth seem to dissolve in the rain and only be fair weather riders. This attitude is changing as more people start riding not just for recreation.)
A group of staff and consultants rode with me in the industrial area, inspecting this existing path and seeing how we could improve it. This is adjacent to our Operations Centre, so we were noticed by many staff driving by or in the office. I did some preride training on the ebikes in the car park prior to the proposed site visit. The staff enjoyed using the ebikes and gave me a thumbs up when we were out on site.
Many staff like riding the ebikes as they are easier to ride further, ride into headwinds and ride up hills. They asked for more information about the ebikes, once they have ridden one, and are now keen to get an ebike of their own.
You need to get out and explore bike paths in the local area to understand the various issues that you do not see if you only do desk top surveys or drive bike routes in your car. I video the rides with a gopro so that I can share the footage with others that are not on the ride.
There are many benefits by doing site visits by bike instaead of by car. You can also stop easily, pull over at the side of the road and make notes or measure the road width. Riding with a group is preferable when you are doing this work, for safety and for feedback from other riders. It is good to have less confident riders provide feedback as the paths need to be made suitable for the people that are not currently riding and cater for those aged 8 - 80 years old. More confident road bike riders often do not "see" the issues that deter many people from riding.
I have encouraged people to bring their own bikes for the site inspection rides, use the work e-bikes or use bicycles provided by People on Bicycles. People on Bicycles can also support the ride, in case anyone on the ride is a less confident rider or if they needed help with bike maintenance issues such as punctures on the ride. People on Bicycles do a quick bike service for everyone and ensure that the bikes are roadworthy, while we meet and discuss the background of the proposed bike infrastructure and ride route.
Safety in numbers and wearing high vis shirts was appreciated during this site visit. We were developing a grant submission to build an off road path path because the area is not bike friendly at all but is a main connection though an industrial area between residential suburbs. Experiencing this environment on a bike was not for the faint hearted. We are aiming to make it more bike and walk friendly, so more staff and other workers in this industrial area, can ride to and from work - away from large trucks and traffic rather than sharing the road with them.
This story is related to Host a social ride for staff
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