Cyclists snap into action

Canberra’s cycling community has been busy posing for a photograph with a message

Cyclists snap into action
Cyclists snap into action

September 19, 2012

Canberra cycling Stephen Hodge has been busy spreading the message about cycling and bussing as alternatives to commuting in the nation’s capital by car.

Hodge organised 69 volunteers, 69 bicycles, 60 cars and one bus in Canberra recently to recreate a world-renowned photograph taken more than 20 years ago to demonstrate the advantages of bus and bicycle travel in congested cities.

The captured image shows the typical space occupied in a city street by three common modes of transport—cars, bicycles and a bus—and is being made available free of charge to organisations, group and individuals to help promote the efficiency of public transport and cycling in congested cities.

"The image succinctly illustrates the greater space efficiency of bus and bicycle travel," Cycling Promotion Fund (CPF) spokesman Hodge says.

"In the space it takes to accommodate 60 cars, cities can accommodate around sixteen buses or more than 600 bikes."

Hodge says while many developed nations are embracing active travel, Australia is missing major opportunities to develop efficient and convenient transport options that have significant health and economic benefits.

"Eight out of ten Australian adults still use a private motor vehicle to travel to work or full-time study, just 14 percent take public transport, 4 percent walk and a mere 2 percent cycle, with 30 percent of these trips in the cities under 3km," says Hodge.

"If Australians continue on this path it is estimated that productivity loss due to avoidable congestion—the economic loss due to the amount of time wasted in traffic—will be $20 billion by 2020."

The Australian photographic initiative was funded by the Cycling Promotion Fund, the ACT Government and online donations from Australians via the Go Alliance website, also receiving in-kind support from Pedal Power ACT. The project used 69 people, as this is the capacity of a standard Canberra bus, and 60 cars, as this is the number occupied on average by 69 people.

"There’s been great interest from cities across Australia and we’re hoping that by making the image freely available this interest translates into wide dissemination," Hodge says.

"As Australia’s population swells and our cities experience ever increasing congestion we need to get smarter about how we use existing road space—including investing more in alternatives such as public transport and cycling—if we are to move people more efficiently and effectively."

• Download the Australian transport photo from

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