We don’t have enough connected, accessible and attractive places to ride to facilitate the rapid growth in bike riding.
As COVID-19 restrictions came in to place, the number of Australians riding bikes soared.
Bicycle Network’s recreational bike counts recorded increases as high as 270 per cent on bike paths. Bicycles quickly replaced toilet paper as the ‘must have’ item with bike shops experiencing extraordinary demand.
The problem is that we don’t have enough space to facilitate the rapid growth in bike riding and turn it into long term behaviour change.
Many people are getting on bikes for the first time or after a long absence. They are not comfortable riding on roads among traffic, so other than riding on busy trails and paths, there are no other options for them.
Before we know it, Australians will also be returning to their workplaces as our focus turns to employment. We can’t return to the days of overcrowded public transport and our roads can’t cope with more cars.
The horrifying possibility exists that the stimulus our economy so badly needs will be stultified if it coincides with traffic congestion that gridlocks our streets.
Unless our governments act immediately to make bikes part of Australia’s transport solution, a once in a lifetime opportunity will slip through our fingers.
Local, state and federal governments can rapidly transform roads to make more room for bikes and help keep people riding as we make our way out of lockdown.
The bicycle has been described as a simple solution to the world’s most complicated problems.
It has been instrumental in helping us survive the crisis and it now has a key role to play in helping us come out the other side stronger.
The rest of the world has invested in bikes as a way out of the crisis. The speed at which cities are transforming and incentivising bike riding is unprecedented. Cities such as Berlin, Montreal, Bogota, Paris and Athens have, within days, installed kilometres of protected bike lanes that usually take months.
France, Italy and England are also providing citizens with financial incentives to get them pedalling.
Now is the time for Australia to get moving. The window of opportunity is open, but it’s closing fast.
Right across Australia, there are plans with local projects ready to go to build dedicated paths that would improve safety and make our paths more accessible to everyone. They just need to be funded.
Pedalling to a better normal
Bicycle Network’s $904 million bike riding stimulus package would use pedal power to safeguard our health, create jobs and improve the spending power of Australians as we work our way out of the COVID-19 crisis.
Bicycle Network’s Pedalling to a better normal is a six month plan to safeguard our health, create jobs and improve the spending power of Australians as we work our way out of the COVID-19 crisis.
The $904 million bike riding stimulus package calls on all three levels of government to unite to build pop-up bike lanes and incentivise cycling.
Our local councillors and parliamentarians should know that people are eager to have more safer spaces to ride, so write to them, Facebook them, Tweet them or call them and let them know what you think.
If there is a particular road you think would be suitable to have pop-up bike lanes, wider paths or slower speed limits in your area, let them know. Photographs are also helpful to make your case.
You can click here to find contact details for politicians in each state of Australia.
Here’s a few easy ways you can help get more space created for people walking and riding.
Write to the politicians
Contact your local member of parliament or mayor to let them know you need more space for bikes.Contacts
Become a member
Join Bicycle Network as a member and help make our voice stronger so we can get more people riding.Join us
Share on social
Spread the word – share this campaign with your friends and decision-makers on social.
How have governments responded?
It’s critical that our governments invest in infrastructure, programs and incentives that make it easier for more people to ride as restrictions ease. To help keep up the pressure, we’ll track the announcements as they are made.
Have we missed something? Let us know by sending us an email at email@example.com.
NSW stimulus: $1 billion investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects – including a cycleway in Centennial Park. Read more.
Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program: $500 million to deliver priority local road and community infrastructure projects – including $1.5m for Rockhampton paths. Read more.
(Potential funding for bike projects as apart of council stimulus package. Read more.)
QLD: New joint advisory committee with Brisbane Council formed to connect Brisbane bikeways. Read more.
VIC: 100km of quick-build bike lanes to pop up in inner-Melbourne and the introduction of minimum passing distance laws in Victoria. Read more.
Riding during coronavirus
The NSW Government will invest almost $710m in infrastructure for people who ride and walk over the next four years.
Construction is about to begin on Heidelberg Road to install the first of the Victorian Government’s new pop-up bike lanes.
The City of Darebin will be installing its first pop-up bike lane along South Crescent in Northcote later this month.
Minimum passing distance laws are set for Victoria and 100km of quick-build bike lanes will pop up in inner-Melbourne to help us reach COVID normal.
Melbourne will get a massive—and fast—upgrade to bike facilities as 40km of bike routes is rushed into construction in response to the COVID-19 impact.
A $904 million bike riding stimulus package would use pedal power to safeguard our health, create jobs and improve the spending power of Australians.