Pedalling a safer future for cyclists

A WORLD leader in the public health benefits of bicycle transport says Launceston's bike lanes are akin to ``double Russian roulette''.

Visiting the University of Tasmania from the Harvard school of Public Health in the US, Dr Anne Lusk was speaking at a bike forum at the School of Architecture, Inveresk Campus yesterday.

Dr Lusk has 30 years experience in designing and facilitating bicycle facilities and her research focuses on creating comfortable environments for women, children and seniors to cycle in.

``There are so many mishaps in the design (of Launceston's cycle tracks), you can be doored or you can end up on the road and die.

``Instead if you built what is called a cycle track, which is a barrier protected, bicycle exclusive path beside a side walk, then I think that would help increase women, seniors, children and parents with children on their bicycles,'' Dr Lusk explained.

By moving the bike lanes closer to the footpath with cars parked on the outside, the risk of being doored reduces, as not every car has a passenger, and the risk of falling on the road is eliminated.

School of Architecture senior lecturer Dr Steven Fleming was also speaking at the forum and launching his new book, Cycle-Space: Architecture and Urban Design Principals in the age of the bicycle. ``I started off writing this book for architecture and architecture students to try and get them engaged in bicycle planning so that it's not just a  job done by traffic engineers,'' Dr Fleming said. ``Our cities need to be reconfigured for cycling and it is happening every where and there is obviously a lot of work for architects in that. I also think that in the history of architecture is largely inspired and influenced by changes in transport modes ... and so really, architects could be doing something now to provide the vision to say `look this is the kind of world we could be living in.''

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