Cycling in Brisbane: A Mixed Report

Over the last couple of weeks or so, for the most part, I’ve been talking about things to do during the holiday. I’ve been doing that on account that it is winter school holidays here, so we’ve been finding things to do.

Last Wednesday I talked about skiing in Thredbo compared with sunning yourself in Port Douglas and on Monday of this week I talked about local things to do around Brisbane while the kids are on holiday.

Happy BirthdayWhat I didn’t tell you though is that we’ve been holidaying all week ourselves. One of our family members, and it’s not a big family remember, (if you want a clue it wasn’t myself or Elizabeth) celebrated a milestone birthday.

Any of you who have read my About Me page could work out what that milestone was with just a little simple maths, but I can’t say any more than that, it just wouldn’t be right.

TheBig5-0Singapore

So for only the second time since moving to Australia about 6 and a half years ago we have left the country for a holiday. A few years ago it was Thailand, this year Singapore. I can’t tell you about it though, I’m still there.

Cycling in Brisbane

But that doesn’t matter, this website is not about holidays abroad, it’s about Australia. Over the last few Fridays I’ve been working through my ‘cycling in” series and so far we have enjoyed bike rides in Adelaide, Canberra, PerthMelbourne and Sydney. I started my cycling series so that we could get away from Brisbane for a bit but now that I have literally got away, I miss the place.

So that’s why I’ve chosen to bike around Brisbane today.

CityCycle

Brisbane is another city with a cycling scheme, bicycles are available for instant hire from any one of a huge number of stations sprinkled around Brisbane which are apparently spaced no more than 300 to 500 metres apart.

Fees to use this service are very similar to the charges we saw in Melbourne with their Melbournebikeshare. The trick is the same; use the bikes for less than 30 minutes on each trip and you pay nothing other than your daily, weekly, quarterly or annual subscription.

Here are the current rates:

feesFor more information, visit CityCycle.

So what’s it like cycling in Brisbane?

I’m delighted to welcome back our ‘car is king’ commentator from last week’s Sydney documentary style movie about cycling who now turns his attention to Brisbane. It’s not all good news here, but it’s not all bad either.

This is Mark of Bicycle Dutch with his impressions of cycling in Brisbane…

In case you didn’t notice, Mark pointed out the obvious reason why bicycle share schemes are not working here in Brisbane or Melbourne as they should; our ridiculous bicycle helmet laws.

Yes, it is compulsory for everybody to wear a bicycle helmet when riding a bike in Australia, apparently we are one of only two countries in the entire world to do this, the other being New Zealand.

As Mark points out, statistically it’s more dangerous walking down the stairs than riding a bike and that just sums up how insane these laws are.

Okay, time for a Brisbane bicycle commute, so let’s get back “On the Road Again” with Canned Heat…

Yes, it does end suddenly, doesn’t it? Have you cycled in Brisbane? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • djmcbell July 14, 2014, 5:30 pm | Link

    Those prices for the bike share seem pretty good. As far as I know only London has a similar scheme in the UK (sponsored by Barclays) and the prices seem mostly the same (but with a £ sign), though there are a lot less options:

    24 hrs – £2
    7 days – £10
    Yearly, only available to registered users – £90

    As for the bike helmet laws, I’m sure wearing a helmet when I cycled as a teenager saved my probably a fair few bumps, mostly my fault (though one was where I’d just had my brakes repaired, a bus overtook and stopped dead in front of me to drop people off so I had to slam on my brakes and the pads came flying off – you can guess the rest). Whilst it is stopping people riding bikes (as, of course, not everyone has a helmet) I can see the point – it’s like cars and seatbelts. You may never need it but if you do you’ll be pretty grateful.

    My family now has the option of getting bikes, but I’m a bit unsure given the huge amount of traffic and idiots on the road (a fair amount ARE cyclists), or even on the pavement as cyclists tend to mount the pavement (not all, or even a majority, but they do). I’ve had a cyclist clip my son’s pushchair and cycle off without stopping, and a few weeks back I saw a cyclist collide with two people on the pavement – they insisted they were ok whilst limping off and the cyclist rode into the sunset, never to be seen again.

    At least here in the UK, I wouldn’t dream of not having a helmet, and I can’t believe it’s not law to have one here.

    I’m still not sure about getting a bike.

    • BobinOz July 14, 2014, 9:53 pm | Link

      I think more important than wearing a helmet would be having a dedicated cycle path on which to ride. Any city that can work that out, and some like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Denmark may be close to doing that, would make for far safer cycling than any setup in which cars and pushbikes are competing for the same space.

      Every city I have researched here in Australia about cycling has come up with a car versus cyclist story, the two just don’t get on.

      So give me a dedicated cycling path, not a helmet, and I’d be tempted to get on my bike.

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