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  • Writer's pictureBruce Giddings

Getting Around Cabo Car Free

Caboolture resident and advocate for better transport options, Wendy Nash, wants a fair go for people who don’t drive motor vehicles.

Wendy leads Get Around Cabo Carfree, a growing community movement that seeks to reshape how residents get around town, focusing on the challenges faced by residents who do not drive, for whatever reason.

A bike lane with a physical protective barrier.
A bike lane with a physical protective barrier. In the Netherlands, where around 75% of kids ride a bike or walk to school, obesity is around 1 in 8 children. In Australia, the obesity rate is 1 in 4 children. Photo credit: Bicycle Network

Nationally, around 40% of people don’t drive. However, with statistics showing below-average social circumstances for residents of Caboolture and Morayfield, the proportion of non-drivers would be greater.

Wendy estimates that about half the local residents do not drive a motor vehicle, and therefore receive much less benefit from the expensive infrastructure provided for their counterparts in cars.

She points to a decline over several decades in the ease of travel for non-drivers, and aims to highlight the need for safe, genuinely shared spaces for drivers, bike riders, scooter users and pedestrians.

The drop-off in active transport over the past 50 years has coincided with a surge in vehicle ownership. Children, in particular, have shifted away from walking or cycling to school, with less than one-third regularly using active transport for their commute.

A myriad of factors contribute to this issue, but safety concerns and lack of connecting bike paths are both factors, Wendy says.

Pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable to road crashes, especially in places like Caboolture and Morayfield, where a white line and green paint constitute a bike lane.

Wendy believes that very few parents would be happy to allow their 13-year-old child to use the bike lanes along Morayfield Road, especially in peak hour.

“Bike lanes without physical separation from traffic are unsafe, and a cheap second-rate solution,” she says.

“And when they’re not connected to other safe bike paths, they are much less useful because you can’t get all the way safely.

“Active transport users need to be encouraged, and protected connected lanes would do that.”

A change in transport options would also provide financial and health benefits for individuals, Wendy says.

“The continual use of motorised transport leads to more obesity, more respiratory disease, more cancer and families who are financially hard-pressed having to spend around $1000 a month on their car simply because there are few good alternatives.”

“Bike lanes without physical separation from traffic are unsafe, and a cheap second-rate solution.”

There are also the costs of traffic collisions, $30 billion each year across Australia. Three people die every day, while many more become injured or have to be a carer of someone who’s seriously injured from a car crash.

Wendy believes it doesn’t have to be like that.

“When we give safe options for other transport modes, we reduce costs, whether that’s building and maintaining roads, or having to deal with the fallout from car collisions,” she says.

When she founded Get Around Cabo Carfree, the plan was to get safe bike lanes, more footpaths and a decent bus service.

But after researching transport infrastructure, Wendy realised that funding for cars causes as many problems for car drivers as it does for non-drivers. That is when she set about trying to create a mindset change in local and state government, as well as in the local community.

Wendy says that we’re all just people doing our best.

“It’s not about blaming people for driving because currently, that’s what most people have to do,” she says. “A long commute to work makes nobody happy.

“We have all, to some extent, taken a passive view on local transport, and allowed the car to shape this place, leaving us with a dangerous lack of convenient and safe road infrastructure for bike riders, wheelchair users and pedestrians.”

Despite some obvious advantages, active transport faces challenges all over Australia, with relatively low rates compared to European countries.

According to the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019, about one in 20 of Australia's journey-to-work trips are undertaken solely by active transport, compared to between 30 and 50 percent in countries like Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

Most journeys are within five kilometres of home, and could easily be made by bike or e-bike if the paths were safe and properly connected.

Beyond her Facebook group, Wendy actively engages with City of Moreton Bay Council representatives and State Government politicians to lobby for improved transport infrastructure.

Wendy says her commitment to healthy transportation choices led her to bid farewell to her car, relying on public transport, her bicycle, and walking – a shift that makes her feel less isolated because she’s always bumping into people she knows. The move has also saved her approximately $12,000 annually.

Get Around Cabo Carfree might not be revolutionary in its objectives, but it aligns with a global movement towards promoting active transport. Around the world, cities are redesigning road space to be not about moving people and objects as quickly as possible, but about making our communities a place to connect with others and be better for the businesses along those streets. The economic burden of social isolation in Moreton Bay is estimated to be $60 million a year.

Wendy's call for a more liveable future for Caboolture and Morayfield takes aim at the community as well as policymakers and authorities. The community movement is helping people think about how they want their place to be, instead of taking a passive stance and putting up with a place that doesn’t work for the people that live there.

“I mean, Morayfield Road is ugly and uninviting,” she says. “It’s very easy to make that space a place which would be a place people want to visit – and when it’s good to visit, it’s great for business. But the community has to put up their hand and say that’s what they want.”

Wendy has a website named and a fledgling podcast called Streets and People. Streets and People has three series of episodes:

Road Rules 360 to find out what Queensland’s road rules are for people not driving (bike, pedestrian, wheelchair and scooter legislation),

Not Everyone Drives where she chats with people who don’t drive so policymakers can hear about the implications of their decisions on people who are negatively affected by the lack of non-car transport options, and

People & Projects where Wendy interviews people who are actively seeking change in our communities - they might be academics, community groups or advocacy groups.

The Facebook page Get Around Cabo Car-free is currently filled with information about active and public transport. Get Around Cabo Carfree has a team of dedicated volunteers looking to make Caboolture and Morayfield a great place to live so if you’d like to make your street better, feel free to volunteer.


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