Ride to Work Day
Hansard, 19 October 2010
Fraser Electorate: Ride to Work Day
I rise today to speak about a terrific community event called Ride to Work Day. On 13 October this year I had the opportunity to participate in Ride to Work Day, an event organised by Pedal Power in my local electorate. Honourable members may remember that that morning was particularly rainy, but I was fortunate to be joined at my local shops in Hackett by not one, not two, not three and not four, but five members of Pedal Power: John Widdup, Paul Truebridge, Tony Shields, Brendan Nerdal and Joy Clay. They were not only terrific company but took great advantage of the opportunity of cycling with me from my home to my work to lobby me, one by one—cycling alongside me and raising with me particular issues of concern they had about cycle paths in different parts of Canberra. It was a really enjoyable morning, I think, for all of us.
Pedal Power is one of those great local organisations we have in Canberra, with a membership of about 3½ thousand people. The organisation was founded with the support of Jim Fraser, after whom my electorate is named. It may interest members in this place to know that the organisation was founded on 11 November 1975, a date which we sometimes remember for other reasons.
Cycling is good for people’s health and it is important for the environment. Moving more people to a low-carbon transport approach is going to be one of the ways in which we tackle climate change along, of course, with the use of market based mechanisms. The government and the federal government are strongly committed to a transport plan which will increase the number of Canberrans cycling to work. I was delighted recently to open, with John Hargreaves MLA, a cycle path alongside Ginninderra Drive which will increase the opportunities for people in that area to cycle to work.
Cycling is also terrific fun. When I was an economics professor at ANU, I used to cycle into work whenever I could and I found that half-hour was sometimes the best thinking time I got in the day. It was also a time I got to bond with my one-year-old son, when I occasionally put him on the back of the bike.
Finally I want to congratulate Paul and Di Truebridge of Pedal Power for a program they run called New Horizons cycling development. This program won a national award last year and it is a program that is important in increasing the number of people who cycle to work. It is a program aimed at people who can ride a bike, but not very far or not with confidence, and who want to improve their riding knowledge and techniques so they can commute, go touring or just have fun on the bicycle. It is terrific to see Paul and Di Truebridge encouraging more people to get on two wheels than ever before.