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Bikes versus cars: time to end the 'hysteria'

Thursday, 5 September 2013
Author: Melissa Mack, Indaily

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Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood has called for people to stop "getting hysterical about cars versus bikes" and embrace projects like the Frome Street bikeway.

His call for "calm and common sense" comes following a divided reaction to the Adelaide City Council's planned separated bikeway for Frome Street, which will see it lose one lane of traffic in each direction.

"Instead of everyone getting hysterical about cars versus bikes we all need a light bulb moment that says an integrated transport system is in the best interest of vehicle drivers, delivery trucks, business owners and residents because it will tackle the future of congestion," Yarwood told InDaily.

"People who are saying one lane in Frome Street will generate more congestion, if we don't get some people who live close to the city riding bikes, congestion in two lanes is inevitable anyway because we aren't providing an alternative to just driving a car."

Yarwood has been a vocal proponent for cycling in the CBD, but it seems he can not bridge the vocal divide between some motorist and cyclists.

He has been criticised for the Frome Street plan and others which seek to promote alternative modes of transport, other than cars.

"This is the best long-term strategy for minimising the very congestion those people are angry about even though it is counter intuitive to what they think the solution is," he said.

"I'm challenging them to realise this is the very solution to solve future congestion."

He said he wanted to tackle the long-term implications of congestion by providing choice.

"I'm not asking people who don't want to ride to choose cycling, I'm asking those who have the capacity to do so to consider it."

Responding to the Frome Street plans, Bike SA chief executive Christian Haag agreed that motorists should be happy because this type of infrastructure would reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

"For those people who concerned that Frome Street is a log jam already and once it's down to one lane it'll be worse, it's ridiculous... We can't build more roads to take more cars [in the city]."

Haag believed the apparent divide between motorists and cyclists was the result of a vocal minority.

"The community wants to take a bike instead of a car but it's the vocal minority who are expressing concerns," he said.

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