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Make Canberra the Cycling Capital, candidates told

By Anne Treasure - 27 September 2016 4

pollies

“We want a government that not only supports but actively works for – invests money and time in – making it easier for more people to ride bikes in Canberra.”

This was the message to politicians at Pedal Power’s 2016 ACT Election Forum in Canberra tonight, where Labor’s Meegan Fitzharris, the Greens’ Shane Rattenbury and Liberal Alistair Coe discussed their parties’ commitments to cycling and cycling infrastructure with leading ACT cycling experts.

Fixing the missing links, promoting cyclo-tourism in the ACT and Labor’s announcement about making the Belconnen Town Centre more bike-friendly were the big winners of the night, with all three politicians agreeing that cycling infrastructure in Canberra needs work if we are to become the cycling capital of Australia. belco town centre

When questioned about the gaps in cycling infrastructure, Fitzharris admitted that she herself had been frustrated by paths that just end – “I drive past paths like that every day” – and suggested that if elected, a Labor Government would undertake a comprehensive audit process.

Shane Rattenbury’s commitment to “vigorously oppose registration for cyclists” while recognising the benefits that cycling brings to the community was a popular statement at the Forum.

Debate among the candidates regarding light rail and plans for the Northbourne corridor made for the most contentious moments of the night, with Rattenbury expressing horror at “the idea of an eight lane motorway through the centre of our city.”

Deputy Leader of the Canberra Liberals Alistair Coe said all the right things for the Pedal Power audience, but CEO John Armstrong was sceptical that the Liberal Party would deliver anything more than words for bike riders.

The leaders of ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals not showing up speaks volumes about their commitment to cycling in the ACT, and Pedal Power CEO John Armstrong has called on the major parties to do better in regards to bike riding.

“Don’t distil cycling input into the transport portfolio,” said Armstrong prior to the forum. “It’s much more than that – there’s recreation and cycling tourism, elite sporting events, kids and education. We need integrated policies that address all of these issues.”

Leading up to the Forum, Pedal Power asked voters to participate in a survey about which issues are most important to the Canberra cycling community.

The top issues included fixing the missing links in the current cycle path infrastructure, creating separated infrastructure for bikes, and a Chief Minister who would willingly demonstrate a commitment to cycling in the ACT.

“Once you have a commitment from the Chief Minister to cycling, a lot of the priorities flow from that: funding for infrastructure, government departments prioritising cycling,” said Pedal Power member Roger Bacon.

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4 Responses to
Make Canberra the Cycling Capital, candidates told
Maya123 11:29 pm 28 Sep 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Get those tour-de-France wannabes off the Brindabella Road so I can enjoy my Sunday drive without the hindrance of doing 40km/h whilst cyclists exceed that same speed limit going down the winding hills.

Ah, so only you are allowed Sunday recreation!

Leon Arundell 5:13 pm 28 Sep 16

Which party will build the remaining half of the top 40 value-for-money walking and cycling projects that were evaluated in 2011? see http://grapevine.net.au/~mccluskeyarundell/MRvalue.html

30% of Canberra’s regular cyclists are too young to ride on the road. Which party will build footpaths for them, on the one in four Canberra streets that don’t yet have footpaths?

Dr_Hoon 11:55 am 28 Sep 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

Rural roads are not a velodrome and no other sport is allowed to sequester a public space every Sunday for their own entertainment.

The fundamental problem with your contribution is that you assume roads are built solely for cars and that cycling is solely a form of recreation. Neither is true. It is like your comment has escaped from some talk-back radio echo chamber.

wildturkeycanoe 7:53 am 28 Sep 16

“making it easier for more people to ride bikes in Canberra.” How about free bike for every man woman and child? It’d be as cheap as the free rego for 17-25s and benefits the entire community. We could even build a factory and employ locals to build said bicycles, a win-win for the government and community. What about a CBR branded mountain bike, with giant whale udders hanging off the handlebars and a camera with motion sensors to detect, warn and record vehicles that encroach the cyclist’s two metre safety bubble?

“creating separated infrastructure for bikes” – Yes please x 1,000,000!!! Get those tour-de-France wannabes off the Brindabella Road so I can enjoy my Sunday drive without the hindrance of doing 40km/h whilst cyclists exceed that same speed limit going down the winding hills. Rural roads are not a velodrome and no other sport is allowed to sequester a public space every Sunday for their own entertainment. Why does the government allow this but doesn’t provide any space for motor-cross or trail-bike riding? They have two wheels, they also aren’t registered, so why are motorbikes deemed so bad you aren’t allowed to use them anywhere? Oh, that’s right, they aren’t environmentally friendly and they are fun. Fun police kill off anything remotely enjoyable.

What was the point of changing the rules for on road cycling, effectively putting cyclists above the law in relation to cars, then concentrating on off road cycling infrastructure? Why would they use the perfectly good adjacent cycle highway when the dual lane carriageway occupied by B-double trucks and millions of cars travelling 100km/h is provided for their benefit? On the [shared] cycle paths they have to yield to pedestrians, but on the roads they are king and untouchable. Until the government mandates that cyclists use the paths created for them there is no point spending money connecting the network together, they won’t use them. How many times have you seen the Peloton occupying Lady Denman Drive instead of using the perfectly good path running alongside? What is the intrigue of riding on the rough chip-seal road when a perfectly smooth concrete or bitumen road is provided only some few metres away? Self importance, entitled attitude, that’s why. Cyclists really need a lesson in self preservation and the result of when that small air gap between 2 tonnes of steel and 4kg of aluminium is breached. I would have thought it’d be pretty logical to avoid being in harm’s way, but cyclists have pestered the nanny state into protecting them with new laws. Unfortunately the law won’t stop you being crushed by an inattentive driver.

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