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Bike lanes a better physical activity fix

Victoria's new Get Active Victoria campaign should be matched with investment in bike lanes to give people more opportunity to be active each day.

While Melburnians can only leave home for exercise once a day under current coronavirus restrictions, bikes can still be used for trips to the shops, essential services and work, giving people more opportunity for physical activity.

Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards said that by making everyday bike riding easier we can help more Victorians get active.

"If we create more space for riding and walking we will give more people the ability to increase the amount of physical activity they get each day," said Mr Richards.

"Stage four restrictions have stopped our incidental bits of physical activity like walking from the train station to the office or to the cafe. We need to replace that those little bits of physical activity that get lost in restrictions and social distancing."

Announced this week, the Get Active Victoria campaign includes an online platform with workouts and challenges that people can do at home along with videos from celebrity sportspeople Daisy Pearce and Meg Lanning.

A government media release says that 80 per cent of children and more than 50 per cent of adults in Victoria not doing the recommended amount of physical activity. To stay healthy, adults need 30 minutes of physical activity every day and children 60 minutes.

A submission made earlier this year by Bicycle Network, Pedalling to a Better Normal, proposed a $26 million investment from the state government in pop-up bike lanes.

The investment would develop 65 kilometres of protected bike lanes and be introduced alongside supportive legislation for bike riders including minimum passing distance laws and footpath riding.

"Protected bike lanes and supportive legislation will make it easier for people to choose bike when leaving the house. They know they'll have a good time riding." added Mr Richards.

"And it would not only help people exercise now, but also during relaxed coronavirus restrictions and well into the future."

The City of Melbourne has begun installing new bike lanes in recent weeks, however there has been no commitment from the Victorian government to install bike lanes as a response to COVID-19.

Click here to read more about Pedalling to a Better Normal.

Click here to see a Victorian government media release about Get Active Victoria.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.

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