Looking for the promise of ongoing bike funding

Infrastructure promises are always popular during election campaigns, but this time around we want to see a promise for the establishment of ongoing transport cycling infrastructure funding.

The lack of an ongoing funding commitment for active transport is letting us all down.

There are many people who would choose to ride a bike, walk, ride an e-scooter or catch a bus, or a combination of these, but they are being held back by the lack of safe pathways.

If they were in place then we could see more people getting around under their own steam and fewer cars on the road, which benefits everyone.

We’d like to see a commitment from all political parties that walking, riding, and scooting are genuine transport choices and should be funded every year, just as road infrastructure is.

An ongoing active transport infrastructure fund would help councils plan ahead and fund a state network of urban cycling corridors that could take people to work, school, services and social activities.

If we spent just $20 per head of the population we’d have some $11 million a year to create effective networks. This would amount to just 5% of the total amount of money promised for road projects by the government at the last election.

Bicycle Network’s Top Ten

The election was called just days after we finished our submission to the next budget, outlining our priorities for spending for 2021–22 financial year.

  1. SPEND at least $20 per person per year through a $44.4 million bike infrastructure program over the next four years.
  2. ESTABLISHan ongoing cycling infrastructure fund for local councils to apply for funding.
  3. FUNDBicycle Network’s Ride2School program over the next four years.
  4. INVESTIGATEcycling tourism opportunities such as rail trail development and shared e-bike schemes. 
  5. ESTABLISHa Ride2Work program for all public sector employees to provide rider education, bike maintenance courses, advice on buying bikes and gear and buddy rider systems.
  6. IMPLEMENTa state policy for all new building developments to include bike parking and end-of-ride facilities such as parking loops, secure storage and showers and provide incentives for businesses and developers to retrofit existing buildings.
  7. LAUNCHa no-interest loan scheme or direct subsidies to help more people buy electric bicycles. 
  8. DESIGNa technical manual for state and local government planners and engineers to help them build All Ages and Abilities protected cycleways.
  9. OVERSEE trial of bicycles on racks inside or outside buses. 
  10. INTRODUCE salary sacrificing option for all public sector staff to help them buy e-bikes.
Tell your candidates bikes are important

COVID-19 considerations may mean there are fewer opportunities to tell candidates in person what you’d like to see them commit to, but you can still write, call or engage on social media.

We’ve posted the contact details of all the candidates we know of in both the Legislative Assembly election and Legislative Council election for the seats of Windemere and Derwent (Mike Gaffney has been re-elected unopposed in Mersey).

And as relevant policies for bikes are released we’ll post the details on our VoteBike webpage.

2018 election promises report card

On our election website we also list the 2018 election promises from all the parties and how the Liberals have gone on delivering theirs. The government may have been able to boast completion of many of their promises had it seen out the full term.

Liberal promises delivered

  • Four-year funding for the Bicycle Network Ride2School program in Tasmanian primary schools.
  • Seal and widen shoulders on sections of the West Tamar highway
  • $286,000 for Dial Range mountain bike paths
  • $100,000 for a bike skills park in Ulverstone
  • $190,000 for the Risdon Vale Bike Collective
  • $20,000 going to the All-Schools Mountain Bike Championships and $20,000 to the Launceston Mountain Bike Club
  • Up to $100,000 to the Glenorchy Council to upgrade the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park
  • Central Coast Walking and Cycling Trail – Rail Bridge Deck: $450,000 to provide a cycling and walking link across the Forth River utilising the existing rail bridge when an overpass of the Bass Highway is built

Liberal promises still in progress

  • $6 million to create or extend bicycle routes on state and local roads statewide – work on these projects has just started, with half the money due to be spent this financial year and the rest next financial year.
  • $2 million in 50/50 matched funding grants for southern councils for bicycle infrastructure such as dedicated bike lanes and linking paths within towns – councils have been contacted about this funding but no announcements yet as to where the funding will go.
  • Better riding facilities as part of the Hobart Airport interchange upgrade – work has started on this.
  • Update the Walking and Cycling for Active Transport Strategy, including regular implementation updates – this review started before the COVID pandemic but has since stalled.
  • Review planning and development laws to require developers to include bike parking and associated facilities in major Tasmanian cities – this was incorporated into the Walking and Cycling Strategy review so nothing has happened on it.
  • It wasn't an election promise, but the state and federal governments' 2020 announcement of shared paths for the Tasman Bridge is a major project in progress since the last election.