Bicycle helmets would remain mandatory under a Canberra Liberals government as part of a 10-year vision for the future of bike-riding in the Territory that would largely be funded through existing government resources and programs.
ACT Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury announced earlier this year that the ACT Government would engage an expert consultant to investigate and assess the potential benefits and situational risks of allowing people to ride a bicycle without a helmet in slower traffic areas such as parks, town centres, shared zones and university precincts.
Shadow Minister for Transport Alistair Coe provided details of his party’s plan on cycling to the RiotACT exclusively this morning, and said it had a focus on improved connectedness, safety and a better experience for cyclists. A key goal was “no deaths on our network”.
Building on the previously announced pledge for dedicated cycle paths in the median of Northbourne Avenue, the Federal Highway and Flemington Road, the policy list features the promotion of electric bikes, updated cycling maps in innovative formats and improved fit-outs to accommodate taking bicycles on board buses.
Mr Coe said the Liberals wanted more than 10 per cent of commuters to regard cycling as their mode of choice, and to assist Canberrans to make this choice, his party vision included segregated/separate cycle paths on major arterial roads, the completion of missing links in the network, such as Kuringa Drive, and better lighting on the network.
Competition and recreation also feature in the plan, with a comprehensive cycling tourism strategy and regular world class cycling and mountain bike races in the mix.
Measures to improve safety in addition to the retention of the mandatory helmet rule would include support for technology solutions to help friends and family track vulnerable cyclists, better education for existing and potential cyclists and other road users and comprehensive street sweeping and removal of chip seal on cycle paths.
The Liberals would also look to expand the city’s cycle share scheme in consultation with the National Capital Authority and national institutions. The scheme is currently operated by Spinway Canberra with stations at six central hotels and the Southern Cross Yacht Club in Yarralumla.
“The Canberra Liberals support all forms of cycling, be it for commuting, competition or recreation,” Mr Coe said.
ACT Labor’s previously announced policy on cycling includes a $4.5 million bikeway loop linking UC and the CIT with Belconnen Town centre, more bike racks in Braddon and a push to grow Canberra’s cycling tourism economy in coordination with Visit Canberra. Labor has also pledged to spend $2.7 million on general footpath upgrades.
The Greens promises related to cycling include a $60 million commitment to upgrade walking and cycling infrastructure across the city over four years and $1.1m over four years to establish a better-resourced Active Travel Office headed by a walking and cycling coordinator in a bid particularly to encourage more women and children to travel by bike.