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New dawn for Mornington?

Mornington Peninsula Shire is promising a reboot of its bike strategy to attract more riding on the Peninsula.

The Mornington Peninsula has always promised much for riders, with its alluring rural and coastal attractions, and holiday destinations.

But delivering on those hopes has been slow and patchy. There is a lot of ground to make up.

There are considerable gaps in the trail network, and potentially great road routes are still hazardous.

The coronavirus pandemic has only highlighted the shortcomings, with many locals struggling to find five kilometres of safe pavement to get their exercise.

But there is cause for optimism with some good opportunities highlighted in the draft 2020 Mornington RideSafe Strategy, now on Exhibition until 11 September.

The Shire is seeking feedback, so if you live or ride in the area, make sure you have you say here.

The two major gaps in the trail network look set to be addressed in the new plan: extending the Peninsula link trail through to both Port Phillip, and Westernport Bays.

That requires fixing the gap between Moorooduc and Mornington and between Mt Martha and Safety Beach, as well as the missing link on the Westernport leg from Baxter to Sommerville.

The Shire says: "The draft RideSafe Strategy 2020 aims to encourage more people to cycle on the Peninsula for transport and recreation, by providing a safe, low stress, integrated and connected cycling network focusing on the user experience.

"This Strategy is more relevant than ever, with a clear increase in cycling on the Peninsula during the COVID-19 pandemic. This Strategy will help this to continue after the pandemic is over."

The four main objectives of the draft RideSafe Strategy 2020 are to:

  1. Improve cycling infrastructure to reduce risk to users.
  2. Develop a connected cycling network to ensure most areas of the Peninsula can be accessed by bicycle.
  3. Enhance the user experience to encourage more people to cycle.
  4. Educate road and trail users and promote cycling on the Peninsula.

The draft strategy could clearly benefit from more data and analysis for use in developing the case for more funding for bike facilities.

The health and tourism benefits available to the Peninsula from an uplift in physical activity and overnight visitation would be considerable.

Safety benefits from better infrastructure should also be teased out.

And there does not seem to be much in the strategy for the residents of the resort towns, where footpaths are often missing and walkers and riders are sharing high speed streets with cars.

The final Strategy is expected to be adopted in late 2020.

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