I am currently in Australia where I am meeting a lot of interesting people, my family, some good friends and last but not least the Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports, who is also Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply; the honourable Mark Bailey MP.
It is a good thing that this is again the
none short post week, because I have been too busy preparing everything for this Australia trip to write a longer post. For those of you who do not follow me on Twitter I will explain a bit what I am doing in Australia. Last year I gave a presentation for the Summer Course of the Amsterdam University in Zwolle. In the audience was PerthBiker who asked me if I would be willing to do that same presentation in Perth. I said yes and sure enough, here I am on an Australian tour. First up was Brisbane where I have relatives. I spent a nice weekend with them and last Monday, 20 March, I started the real work. The day was organised by Adam Rogers and opened with a talk over coffee with the Queensland minister for Transport, Mark Bailey, who is an avid cyclist himself. In the Australian fashion, so we would call him a ‘wheel runner’. The talk lasted a bit longer than planned and we had a very nice conversation. I must admit I never directly talked to such a high-ranking official, before, but being the Bicycle Ambassador of the Dutch Cycling Embassy does open doors. It was a bit intimidating, but I told him that he shouldn’t dismiss advocates who ‘glorify’ Dutch cycling and protected cycling infrastructure, because I feel he couldn’t take his self – a younger able man – as the measure of things. It is a different story for elderly people and women, particularly mothers who would like to ride. He seemed very focused and open to my suggestions. He immediately discussed an interesting plan for a street in the city center. But he has all sorts of parties to take into account, not least the city council, so it is uncertain if and when such plans materialise.
The minister later tweeted he had a great chat with me. At lunch time, I gave a presentation for people of the Department of Transport and Main Roads that was well visited. In the afternoon we had planned to cycle around in Brisbane to see some infrastructure that I would comment on. Being a guest of the government I had no other option but to adhere to the law (it would go too far to say I “respect” it) and for the very first time in my life I had to wear the silly plastic hat! Luckily, Brisbane’s shared bicycle system has some really dorky complementary helmets and I got to wear one of those. A historic moment that was photographed, but that should in no way imply I changed my stance on helmets. Unfortunately, it was raining cats and dogs for a long time, so the bike ride had to be cut short and I didn’t get to see the newest infrastructure in Brisbane. Some other time perhaps.
In the evening I repeated the presentation for a different group of people; transport professionals united in the BikePedTrans organisation. The response was very enthusiastic, so I had a great first day! Tomorrow I will fly to Canberra for the next leg of the trip. Wednesday I fly on to Perth for the conclusion.
Meanwhile in ’s-Hertogenbosch (and this completely unrelated) people keep using the bicycle parking facility at central station. I made a short video right before I went to Australia and I would like to share that with you now.
Entrance to the ’s-Hertogenbosch bicycle parking facility.