Making it easier for more Australians to ride bikes and walk is key to the future success and sustainability of our cities and towns
Australia is undergoing rapid and complex changes. Population growth, urbanisation and technological advancements are causing profound changes to our everyday lives and the communities we live in.
At the same time, our sedentary lifestyles are killing us. Australians of all ages aren’t getting enough exercise. We’ve reached a crisis point where we have a generation of young Australians that won’t live as long as their parents.
By planning, investing and creating space for active transport, our governments can create smart, connected and productive communities, filled with happy and healthy Australians.
We need to get Australia moving. We don’t need to find extra time in our hectic lives for more organised sport. We need to integrate affordable, easy and efficient physical activity into our daily lives through active transport.
The Commonwealth Government holds important influence on the provision of economic and social infrastructure that has a major bearing on the community’s wellbeing.
Australians want to ride bikes and get active, but we need transformative and accountable federal leadership.
Together we can build a nation of bike riders
This isn’t simply about the bike versus the car, it’s about building smarter cities with urban environments that encourage active lifestyles. An integrated, multi-modal transport system is Australia’s greatest preventative health mechanism and congestion-busting tool.
A federal commitment to funding bike infrastructure which separates riders from vehicles is crucial. Just as important is funding programs, like Ride2School, that make bike riding a social norm and build a lifetime of healthy habits for young Australians.
In our budget submission, Bicycle Network is asking for:
Cycling infrastructure is underfunded. We’re asking for the federal government to establish an annual bike fund based off $20 per head of the Australian population. Bicycle Network is also asking for:
- A national framework, regulation or policy that requires bike infrastructure to be part of all federally funded projects.
- Amend the Building Code of Australia to include the provision of end-of-trip facilities
- Continue and expand the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF)
- Ensure national agendas and strategies consider bikes
- 1.4 Adopt the recommendations from the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities Building Up & Moving Out report
Australian children are suffering a crisis of inactivity. With more than 10 years of proven success in changing behaviour, we’re calling on the federal government to invest in our cost-effective and impactful Ride2School program over the next four years.
A consistent approach to data collection is essential to ensuring that a true national approach is taken to reducing deaths and serious injury on our roads. Bicycle Network is calling on the federal government to establish a national bicycle crash database that standardises and centralises data on the nature and causes of bicycle crashes.
To motivate more people to swap their cars and prioritise bikes, walking or even public transport, we must remove incentives for single use vehicles and car parking. We propose that the government:
- Abolish the fringe benefit tax exemption for private vehicles and small business car parking
- Extend fringe benefit tax exemption to bikes
National safety standards for heavy vehicles
Bicycle Network strongly believes that we need to actively pursue technologies to improve the safety of heavy vehicles on our roads. Bicycle Network is calling on the federal government to require that all heavy vehicles be fitted with the following:
- Class V mirrors, and reversing and blind spot cameras, giving the driver a better view of road users around their vehicles
- Side underrun protection to protect bike riders from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision
- Audible left turn warning and reverse squawker alert systems to communicate heavy vehicle movements to all road users
- Hydraulic payload monitoring system to determine and notify drivers of real time truck weight
An obstacle to implementing new national standards for heavy vehicles are small owner-operators who make up a significant portion of the industry. Sourcing additional funds to upgrade their heavy vehicle fleets poses a considerable barrier.
Bicycle Network is recommending that the federal government offer rebates to owner-operators of heavy vehicle to help subsidise the cost of safety upgrades that are necessary to significantly reduce the risk that trucks pose to vulnerable road users.
Road user awareness programs:
In addition to physical mitigation measures, truck driver training and road user awareness programs are integral to the prevention of crashes involving heavy vehicles.
Funding a national awareness program like Bicycle Network’s Swapping Seats initiative would help to not only raise awareness but build a consistent and clear communication of behaviours for both drivers and bike riders.
Additionally, Bicycle Network believes that vulnerable road user training should be introduced and mandated across all truck driver licensing curriculums.
The Commonwealth Government has an obligation to ensure that the stock of infrastructure is adequate to deal with the demand of current and future users, and that the real investment is in activities that improve living standards and services.
Investing in bike infrastructure, projects and programs to make it easier for more people to ride ticks all these boxes where the benefits to society are over and above those of the individual.
We know collective action makes a difference.
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