B4R – How bicycles help people

Why people have transport needs

When the planners designed Adelaide and its suburbs – they took it for granted,  everyone would own a car and could  drive to get to places.  Consequently, many of the places people need to go, were sited several km from their house. Some form of independent transport is essential.

Most of us own cars and drive – but for new arrivals and people in need, that’s not always the case.The layout of Adelaide, with its high car ownership, is quite different, from the cities they are used to.

So while people are getting their driving lessons and saving up for cars – they can find a bicycle useful to meet their needs for independent transport.

In Adelaide, Your  house may be 2 or 3 km from the nearest school, or shops. Houses are on large blocks of land with gardens. Suburbs are spread out, not compact. If you need to get somewhere, the distance is likely to be a few km – not just to the end of your street.  Public transport may be infrequent or non-existent. For parents with small children, transport is a particular problem. And Adelaide does not have a strong culture of walking, so often you’re the only person on the street. As many people may know, if you don’t have a car or don’t drive, getting around Adelaide can be quite challenging.

Refugees settling in Adelaide have driven in their own country – but will need several months and several thousand dollars, to get an SA  driving licence and buy a car. Licences from other countries, get limited recognition here, and sooner or later they need to get an SA licence. Often, the person may not have brought their licence with them, and can’t get a replacement sent over, so has to start learning from scratch. Some countries, cars are uncommon, and people never learned to drive.  Others, they still need to pass the SA driving test to get a licence here. Driving lessons can be expensive, $40-50/hour. In addition the current logbook requires a person to get  75 hours of experience with a competent driver. Many of us have a friend or relative with a full licence who takes us for driving practise. But  in refugee communities,  everyone’s still a learner, or may still be on their P’s, so supervision is hard to get. (a few welfare organisations, have volunteer programs that help).  Buying a car, and running it, cost a lot of money.  In the meantime they depend on walking, lifts, or public transport.

To help meet their transport needs,  we supply reliable secondhand bikes free of charge, plus at-cost accessories. The bikes are suitable for short local journeys on road, e.g to shops, public transport, English lessons,  library,  friends. Children and teenagers can use the bikes for recreation, exercise, or to get to school. People can use the bikes to get around – travel to work or  college – get to the railway station – go shopping. Bicycling is also good exercise, helping maintain health. It  saves people money, compared to  public transport, or driving.

People also enjoy bikes for other reasons.

Cycling is exercise, and like any physical activity, can help improve mental and physical health. getting exercise this way, fits in with daily life – you dont need to pay extra for gym membership, or find extra time.

Many people take pleasure in owning a bike, maintaining it and up grading it.

Cycling is recreation – it gets you out and about, in contact with your community, away from the house. Adelaide has a good network of off road bike paths, which many people use for recreation and leisure. e.g the River Torrens path; the Coastal path, from Outer Harbour to Marion Rocks.

Children enjoy riding their bikes, and playing together, with their neighbours.  They can also ride their bikes to school