Two Tasmanian Legislative Council seats are up for election on 5 May: Prosser and Hobart.
The Legislative Council is the check and balance house in Tasmania, so we were curious to see where candidates stood on the issue of making roads safer for bicycle riders.
We drew up a pledge and asked all candidates we could get in contact with (some don’t have their details publicly listed) to sign it. The pledge reads:
If I am elected to the Legislative Council seat of Hobart, I pledge to:
- support the establishment of protected cycleways
- support programs which help people choose active transport options
- support legislative changes which create safer conditions for vulnerable road users.
The pledge for Prosser candidates has the addition of support for sealing road shoulders on routes popular for cycling in a nod to the many kilometres of rural roads in that electorate.
Prosser is a sprawling rural seat that takes in Campbell Town and Bicheno in the north, down to Brighton and Sorell in the south and the entire Tasman Peninsula.
Hobart is one of the smallest seats geographically, covering the city of Hobart, New Town, Lenah Valley, Battery Point, Glebe, Mt Stuart and South and West Hobart, up to the top of kunanyi/Mount Wellington and Fern Tree.
With only about one-third of Australian adults and children getting enough exercise, protected cycleways provide a way for people to incorporate physical activity into daily routines.
All of Tasmania’s urban centres need protected cycleways to give people the choice of riding to schools, employment and shops, but in Hobart they are also needed to provide an alternative to frequent traffic jams.
Only 2% of people ride to work in Hobart and about 30% of children ride or walk to school.
In schools where Bicycle Network delivers its Ride2School program on average the number of children who ride or walk to school increases from about 30% to over 50%.
US research shows that if cities install protected cycleways then up to 60% of the population would consider riding.
Hobart already has two protected paths leading into the city – Intercity Cycleway and Hobart Rivulet – but once riders are delivered to the edge of the city they are on their own.
The state parliament and southern councils can change this by prioritising cycling and investing in protected pathways on selected routes through the city.
The names and comments from candidates who support the safer cycling pledge will be added to this page as the campaign unfolds.
- Richard Griggs: independent – “As a commuting cyclist fortunate enough to use the Intercity Cycleway I appreciate the difference that good cycling infrastructure can make.”
- Rob Valentine: independent – “During my terms on the Hobart City Council and on the Public Works Committee in the Tasmanian Parliament I have advocated for increasing the amenity of cyclists many times when dealing with road construction and other relevant infrastructure projects."
- Chris Simcox: Animal Justice Party – said at the candidates forum on Thursday 26 April that he is a bicycle rider and very supportive of separated cycleways and other measures to improve safety.
- Jo Bain: independent – “I am painfully aware of the hazards cyclists face both in urban areas and possibly more so on rural roads, where narrowness and bad edges make cycling extremely hazardous and evasive action difficult to achieve. “
- Scott Wiggins: independent – “bicycle lanes should be a priority whenever roadworks are undertaken especially in tourist and holiday areas"
- Kelly Spaulding: independent for Prosser. Kelly didn't sign the safer cycling pledge but said "I know many keen cyclists and I am very aware of issues and concerns and would look forward to working with your network to progress these issues if I get elected."
- Lorraine Bennett: Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party hasn't signed the pledge but did send a picture of herself on her bicycle to show her support.
- Kim Peart: independent hasn't signed the pledge but supports walking and cycling trails between towns as a response to climate change, including the hills south of Colebrook. He has also advocated for a Moreton Bay to Port Arthur cycling trail.
Authorised by Alison Hetherington, 210 Collins Street, Hobart