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National Cycling Strategy
Federal and State governments have signed on to a new national strategy to boost cycling. A previous strategy has little to show for itself.
Feds try again on national bike strategy
24 January 2011. Federal and State Governments have endorsed an ambitious new National Cycling Strategy for 2011 to 2016, which will replace an earlier effort which was universally ignored.
The new strategy, endorsed by all Australia's transport ministers, aims to double the number of cyclists by 2016.
The test will be whether the Federal and State Governments will back this commitment with desperately needed funding and high-impact policy initiatives.
The previous strategy, for the period 2005-2010, contained many fine sentiments, but made little impact.
"We are serious about tackling climate change and traffic congestion as well as encouraging healthier lifestyles in our cities and regional communities," the ministers said in a joint statement.
"The data available shows that there were more than 1.9 million people cycling in Australia in 2008, up 21% per cent over just three years.
"In addition, bicycles have out-sold cars every year over the last 10 years, with half of all Australian households owning at least one bike.
"Given up to 20 per cent of car trips in Australia are less than five kilometres, cycling provides greater opportunities to address congestion and carbon emissions.
"Transport currently comprises nearly 15 per cent of Australia's carbon emissions an increase of five per cent since 2000.
"As a zero-emission mode of transport, replacing even five per cent of car trips to bicycle has the potential to reduce emissions impacts by up to eight per cent."
The six key actions in the National Cycling Strategy include:
- promoting the benefits of cycling for both recreation and commuting;
- working with employers to create cycle-friendly workplaces;
- extending networks of safe cycle routes and end-of-trip facilities;
- considering and addressing cycling needs in transport and land use planning;
- continuing programs to target cyclist safety and road user perceptions;
- developing national decision-making processes for investment in cycling; and sharing best practice across the country.
For this strategy to deliver for Australian riders it will be critical that proper monitoring and evaluation is carried out so that elected officials can be made accountable for progress, or lack of it.
The National Cycling Strategy 2011-2016 is available here