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Living Lightly column

Discover the joys of cycling your city

By James Sloan

Everyone knows bike riding is a great way to get some exercise on the way to somewhere else, be it to work or shopping or (finally) visiting friends.

Millions of commuters across Europe and even America are turning to cycling to avoid crowded public transport or jammed roads to get around.

Unfortunately, driving in places like Albury Wodonga is too easy and our public transport networks are underutilised.

But perhaps, with World Bike Day having been celebrated this time last week, it’s time for us to all seriously contemplate the huge environmental, social, health and economic advantages that come with commuting by bike?

As we start to ease the lockdown, it should not just be wheels of industry that start turning but wheels of bikes.

Most enlightened cities throughout the world are quickly opening new cycling lanes to accommodate the crowds of people discovering the joys of cycling. Wouldn’t it be great if we saw this happen in Albury Wodonga too?

Leaders and urban planners throughout the world say it is a unique opportunity to advance green policy goals while encouraging social distancing.

We already have at least the bare bones of a reasonable bike network in Albury Wodonga, with a few notable exceptions such as the recent redevelopment of Wagga Road, whose concrete barriers create a funnel that is potentially dangerous to cyclists.

If this section of road were more cyclist-friendly, north Albury could be part of an excellent, city-wide cycling commuter route.

Most trips in our towns are of very short distance and can be taken by bike or in many cases just walked.

People should get out of their cars – thus reducing their emissions – and get the benefit for themselves and at the same time give a benefit to everyone else.

More people cycling as their primary mode of transport means better roads and infrastructure, thus attracting even more cyclists and even better resources and systems for them to use. It’s self-perpetuating!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see all those people with old bikes in their sheds getting out on them this weekend – and then using them as part of their everyday lives?