Cyclist on his soapbox


Oliver Laing wants Perth to become more bike-friendly. Picture: Brad Serls
Oliver Laing wants Perth to become more bike-friendly. Picture: Brad Serls

Oliver Laing, a PhD candidate at UWA, is one of five speakers at City Soapbox, a Bike Week event in Perth’s CBD.

Mr Laing said while there was growing recognition of the benefits for making cities more bike-friendly, Perth’s car-centric design and planning focus overrode policies that would support bike riding.

“Popping out to grab some groceries by bike could be the low-hanging fruit that helps increase everyday transport bike riding, but it seems bicycles just haven’t entered the mindset of local planners and decision makers,” Mr Laing said.

“The surrounding streets are quite hostile for the average person to feel comfortable riding a bike, there’s no convenient or obvious place to park one.

“The ingrained car-minded culture of our city means driving a car even for a distance of less than a kilometre is so normalised we don’t even think to question it.”

Mr Laing said evidence suggested there was significant latent demand for bike riding in Perth.

“Bicycle commuting has doubled in Perth over the last six years and we know from surveys that many people would be happy to make some local trips by bicycle if the conditions allowed for it,” he said.

City Soapbox will be held at the Museum of Perth from March 14-18.

Mr Laing will present on Thursday March 18.