Car-free family – Bicycle NSW

Eight months later the family is still happily car-free, travelling on a combination of mountain bikes, a hybrid bike and an e-bike, as well as buses and hired or shared cars.  Many journeys are simply more fun when done on two wheels and each of the children has become much more confident and independent.

In order to carry loads, the family has a simple child trailer that can be attached to a bike.  This helps get surfboards to the beach and transport a small outboard for the ‘tinny’ that is used for fishing trips. Rear panniers carry huge loads of groceries – there is no need for gym membership!

Travelling to the beach or boat mooring by car used to mean congested parking and a long walk carrying equipment to the shoreline. A huge bonus of arriving by bike is being able to park right next to the water to unload.  And there are no time-limits or parking charges either.

The availability of car share schemes like Car Next Door or Go Get have helped Sarah to manage without owning a car because the family can use a vehicle when needed.  An added bonus of hiring and sharing cars is that you can choose the right-sized vehicle for the job, and for most trips this is a fuel-efficient compact car. When buying a family car, it is tempting to choose a model big enough for any possible trip but the car will be oversized for many journeys.

Promotion of Travel Options

With an average annual running cost of $10,000 per car, families who drive less than 10,000km per year can save by hiring a car when needed.  To support more people to go car-free, Sarah highlighted the need for more shared cars in the neighbourhood, better bike infrastructure, safer intersections for bike riders and pedestrians and more promotion of travel options other than driving.

“Too often council websites provide travel instructions as though driving and car-parking are the only options,” said Bicycle NSW Bike Planner, Sarah Bickford.

“There needs to be more promotion of the public and active transport alternatives to reach destinations,” said Sarah.

City of Sydney Council have shared a handy resource about riding with children, and Bicycle NSW has extensive resources to help you too

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