Freedom is bliss

Cr. Amanda McNeil was recently elected to Whitehorse City Council. For someone who has a lifelong vision impairment, what’s truly special is Amanda’s wish to get back on a bike again, after many years, as part of her fitness campaign.

Knowing that WATAG is all about advocating to Councils and other authorities to provide infrastructure to enable people of all abilities to become more active and healthy, Amanda asked us for help. She would love to be able to ride a bike to the Council Offices, even to Council meetings, but has totally lost confidence after many years. So she asked whether we would help restore her confidence and be her ‘guide’ to ride there safely.

Whilst Amanda is vision impaired and cannot drive, she can ride a bike if accompanied by others who can ensure she is safe. Imagine the freedom this will give to her.

Bliss!

We were very happy to oblige and firstly helped her iron out the nervous ‘wobbles’ – we wanted to be sure she could remain upright! Then it was an appropriately paced and very safe ride of 3.5km so we could get that lovely smile “I DID IT” at the entrance to the Whitehorse Council offices as shown in the above photo.

Then it was a 3.5 km ride back. A more confident rider now, Amanda crossed very busy Whitehorse Rd, on her bike, at the traffic lights to enter the car park opposite with a lane to the nearby shared path. Then it was a lovely ride along the rail trail back home.

Well done Amanda. We think that 7 km is a pretty amazing “first” ride.

Let’s hope Amanda can realise her aim of riding to a Council meeting sometime soon, and convince some other Councillors to be her riding guide to get there.

Any takers?


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Latest Active Transport News

Active Whitehorse News December 2020

A Happy Christmas season and a smoother Active Transport journey next year.

Here’s some interesting articles to actively transport you into 2021.


#activetravel #activetransport #activemobility #transportation #mobility #walking #bicycle #cycling #spaceforhealth #smartcities #streets #streetsasplaces #publicspace #planning #placemaking #publicspace #urbanism #urbanplanning #tacticalurbanism #covid19

Posted in Active transport, Children, Consultation, Cycling, Disability, Hazards, Health, Motor cars, trucks, Public transport, Safety, Sustainable development, Uncategorized, Walking | Leave a comment

Oh to be 30 again!

Once upon a time I was 30. It was many years ago. If only I knew then what was ahead of me.

Many years before that, the speed at which people travelled on roads was less than 30 km/h.  Horses don’t go very fast. And the earliest cars were not much competition for the horses either.  The most popular cars for the first five years of the early 1900’s were in fact electric cars and they were capable of about 25 km/h.

If only people knew then what was ahead.

It was only ten years earlier on 17 August 1896 in the UK that Bridget Driscoll was the first person to die as a result of a petrol-engine car accident. She was in fact the first pedestrian victim of an automobile accident in the UK. And in the US it was three years later on 13 September 1899  that Henry H Bliss became the first person killed by a car. He was struck by an electric-powered taxicab while exiting the 8th Avenue trolley on West 74th Street in New York City.

Today, approximately 1.35 million people die worldwide every year as a result of road traffic crashes

When you reflect on the fact that approx. 1.34 million people have died this year due to Covid-19 it really makes you think. Covid is such a major problem, so we hope a vaccine will soon be available, and everyone will want it.

But another 1.35 million or so will die next year as a result of a road traffic crash, and the year after and so on. Where is the vaccine for that, and will we all be keen to get a shot?

Should we have lower speeds on local streets?

A recent study Understanding Pedestrian Crashes in Victoria for Victoria Walks by  Monash University Accident Research Centre says YES.

The study’s first recommendation is for reductions in speed limits, including to 30 km/h in areas of high pedestrian activity and residential streets. 
In a crash, because of their small stature, children are more likely to be struck in the head or upper body, both areas having an elevated risk of producing severe injury.
Other studies have shown conclusively that a speed of 30km/h reduces the serious trauma risk to an adult to about 20% compared to 100% at 70km/h, and the risk of death to near zero compare to near 100%.

30 km/h – not a bad vaccine with that kind of effectiveness!

Would you be happy to have a shot?

Article by Chris Trueman

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Whitehorse Council Election Results

Successful Councillors announed.

The following information has been extracted from Wikipedia which in turn lists its source as Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC)

Effective from the 2020 Whitehorse will switch from five two-member wards to eleven single-member wards.[4][5] The names of the eleven single-member wards are: Cootamundra, Eley, Elgar, Kingsley, Lake, Mahoneys, Simpson, Sparks, Terrara, Walker and Wattle.[6]

The current Councillors, elected at the 2020 election, are as follows:[7]

WATAG congratulates the elected Councillors.

In the spirit of the new Local Government Act 2020, WATAG seeks to build valuable relationships with Councillors and Officers. The new ACT embodies “Principles of Community Engagement” with which we totally agree.

The process of working collaboratively with and through groups of people affiliated by geographic proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people is a powerful vehicle for bringing about positive change that a community is invested in..

It often involves partnerships and coalitions that help mobilise resources and influence systems, change relationships among partners, and serve as a catalyst for changing policies, programs, and practices.

Reproduced from “Principles of Community Engagement

WATAG, with its ‘special interest‘ in making Active Transport a safe, convenient and accessible option for all community members – including the young, old, disabled and disadvantaged – is ideally placed to help.

We have some special insights and expertise that we know will benefit the community if we work with Councillors and Officers to build ‘partnerships‘ that will ‘serve as a catalyst for changing policies, programs and practices.

WELL DONE COUNCILLORS!

For more information on Councillors and Wards visit Whitehorse Council website.

Posted in Active transport, Children, Consultation, Cycling, Disability, Hazards, Health, Public transport, Safety, Sustainable development, Walking | Leave a comment

Active Transport News

Active Whitehorse News – September/October 2020 is now online to read with loads of interesting articles including:

Well done Whitehorse

Let’s emulate Penrith NSW and get business in Whitehorse moving too.

The result of Tactical Urbanism at High st Penrith, NSW, With imagination, it could be Whitehorse Rd in Box Hill, Victoria, as envisaged by Council consultants and stakeholder participants in Box Hill development consultation.

WATAG has been advocating to Whitehorse Council for several months now to embrace Tactical Urbanism. (See last newsletter Streets for people). We’ve advocated for the re-purposing of street space, now used by cars, to enable covid-safe outdoor dining and safer Active transport options to get there.

Whitehorse Council has taken the first important steps towards enabling this kind of re-purposing to take place by setting pout new Outdoor Trading rules.

Their website says:

“…we want to make it as easy as possible for businesses to welcome the community safely back to the cafes and restaurants we know and love.
We’ve created free, fast-tracked COVID Response: Outdoor Trading Permits that provide hospitality venues with more options to trade safely. 
Our temporary extended outdoor trading permits allow hospitality venues to:

  • expand onto footpaths
  • take over on-street car parking space immediately outside their business
  • join with neighbouring hospitality businesses to take over sections of on-street car parking, footpaths and (in some cases) street space

Extending outdoor trading will help hospitality businesses cater to more customers and operate viably within the health restrictions advised by the Victorian Government.”

We say – WELL DONE WHITEHORSE

WATAG hopes Whitehorse businesses will move quickly to work with Council and get the City active and likely again as soon as Covid19 restrictions are eased.

Click here for the full Active Whitehorse News – September/October 2020 and read the rest of the interesting Active Transport articles.

Posted in Active transport, Consultation, Cycling, Health, Safety, Sustainable development, Walking | Leave a comment