After years of waiting, the new Victorian Cycling Strategy has finally seen the light of day.
Lacking a lot of specific details, the 10-year strategy sets out to achieve major growth in bike transport, especially commuter trips to work and education, but also local trips to railway stations, schools and shops.
A major thrust is prioritised investment in strategic cycling corridors—a new generation of safer, lower stress, better connected routes.
These corridors, the government says, will make bike riding a more inclusive experience, attracting more women, children and senior Victorians.
Despite taking years to produce with endless cycles of consultation and feedback, the document contains scant detail on what exactly will be delivered by the government.
But with an election looming this year, the clock is ticking.
Bicycle Network expects the government to begin fleshing out an otherwise bare-boned strategy in the coming months.
While it’s great to see a commitment to increase bike riding, Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that the strategy presented missed opportunities.
“It’s clear that the government has an appreciation of what needs to be done, but without clear mode share targets, there’s a risk that the strategy won’t become a reality,” Mr Richards said.
“Beyond political rhetoric, Victorians need transformational and proactive investment alongside a fast-tracked cycling strategy that’s planned detailed, funded and scheduled for immediate action.”
“While strategies are important, to quote a world-famous urbanist - The truth about a city’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision, it’s found in its budget,” Mr Richards added.
Roads Minister Luke Donnellan, said the strategy includes initiatives that will result in more direct, separated cycle paths to important destinations, like workplaces, schools and public transport stops, and make it easier for cyclists to park their bikes at stations or take them on a train or bus.
"The strategy will also support local councils in their crucial role as providers and managers of parts of the cycling network,” he said.
"Transport for Victoria, through its Active Transport Victoria unit, will work with councils and state government agencies to deliver the strategy, ensuring cycling investments are coordinated and have maximum effect.
Mr Donnellan said people walking and cycling will help make neighbourhoods more vibrant and result in healthier Victorians.
The strategy notes that bike riding is highly efficient and can transport more people per square metre of road space than trams or cars.
"Cycling infrastructure such as cycleways and cycle paths should minimise potential points of conflict between modes of transport. It should be designed to reduce users’ speeds and improve visibility at intersections and conflict points,” the strategy says.