Meeting Sara at Sassys on the Swan

Humans on Bikes: Reaching beyond the strong and fearless

I met up with Sara Stace, creator of Humans on Bikes, Board Director of Cycle and Executive Director of Link.Place.Live, at the picturesque bike friendly cafe Sassys on the Swan in Perth recently and asked her a few questions about her passion for bicycles and her work.

I wondered how her passion for bicycles started and I found her story was basically similar to mine and many others that ride in normal clothes. Sara uses her passion to inspire others via her ‘hobby’ and create policies to support more people on bicycles through her day job.This is what she had to say:

“I am from Perth originally and my passion for bicycles started when I was young. I rode my bike everywhere. I rode to school, to uni and to work. All my friends rode and I didn’t really think about it.

Now I am a transport rider and ride a cargo bike and drop the kids to school. Working on Humans on Bikes and being a board member on Cycle is really my ‘hobby’.

Only 1-2% of people consider themselves bike riders, 7% use bikes for transport and are confident riders, 33% are interested but concerned and 57% say ‘no way’ will they get on a bike. Infrastructure is usually aimed at the first two groups, the strong and the fearless and, unfortunately, fails the other groups. The 33% of the population that is interested but concerned, may ride for transport if more separated bike lanes and paths are provided.

The idea of Humans on Bikes follows a similar format as Humans of New York. People send photos in from all over the world. I also talk to people I see riding and they share their story and pose for a photo.

The biggest challenge in promoting cycling has been convincing bureaucrats and politicians. Clover Moore, City of Sydney Mayor, is gutsy and has a strong vision regarding what she wants to achieve to make a better city. Moore is often attacked by the media and this puts off other politicians and bureaucrats.

My biggest achievements so far have been writing the Walking, Riding and Access to Public Transport  and the ACT Active Travel Framework.

Changes are happening. Less people want their own car and more people are walking, riding and using public transport. More people will consider shared vehicles and use private online sharing services like Go Get, or Car Next Door  that are similar to Air BnB. In the next 20-30 years there will be electric driverless shared vehicles.

In the future we won’t need extra family cars. People will ride, walk or share driverless cars so there will be less car ownership. Everyday bike riding will reach beyond the strong and fearless bike riders to include all those interested in riding, as their concerns will be better addressed.

Imagine the future with less individual car ownership. There will be less car parking and a move to higher and better uses for parking spaces such as proper separated bike lanes, alfresco dining or more trees and playgrounds.”

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