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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Electrifying choice

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One hundred years ago this week, around noon on Saturday 14 May 1921, the 2,000 tonne steamship Wollongbar ran aground on Belongil beach.

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Horst Tietze, Mullumbimby

It’s as good as impossible to find a daytime park in Mullumbimby. In Germany they call it Verkehrsinfarkt, based on the concept of a cardiac arrest. Town planners in Munich, Berlin, Madrid, London, or New York are closing off their inner cities to individual traffic for similar reasons. There’s a simple solution – electrify our individual transport needs.

My mechanic suggested I look to replace my car owing to its age. I reflected on my car use and realised more than 50 per cent of my driving was done within 20km of home.

Our business in the Mullum Industrial Estate includes deliveries to local cafes and food stores. We are part of a growing trend of regional food production. That also entails more daily car and truck movements. With that in mind I decided to buy an electric bike rather than a car (keeping my car for long trips).

With two spacious saddlebags I can do my shopping, cycle to the beach, and get daily exercise (it’s a pedal assist). Leaving from home I beat most cars through town owing to traffic congestion. I have checked on riding times from outlying areas: from Sherrys Bridge Main Arm into Mullum it’s 12 minutes by bike and eight minutes by car. Similar ratios apply from other local areas. Extra time cycling will be saved against the time it takes to park.

The downside to e-bikes is missing road infrastructure. By law motor vehicles must allow a one-metre distance when passing bikes. Yet when there is a truck and a car heading in opposite directions there often isn’t enough space to spare.

There’s a great bicycle track from Ewingsdale to Byron. Why don’t we have a similar track from Mullum to Brunswick/Ocean Shores? Council, do some costing and get the ball rolling.


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1 COMMENT

  1. It is great to read your enthusiasm for your cycle, still the only affordable sustainable transport we have. It is concerning though to read that cars and trucks are not providing the metre passing distance from your e-bike and it really does point to the need for better lane marking and separate cycle paths. My recollection from the Byron Shire cycle plan consultations in Ocean Shores is that a cycling path from Mullum ot Brunswick Heads was a priority. The rail trail if it proceeds would also provide a Mullum Ocean Shores link. Federal Labor is planning major funding of cycle infrastructure and it is important that councils have good shovel-ready priorities proposals.

    There is indeed a path from Ewingsdale to the centre of the Bay but I am not sure about “great”; it has a poor surface in parts, requires riders to cross Ewingsdale Road and the connections to the M1 and the old highway are poorly signposted and very overgrown,

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