Securing bike funding 

COVID-19 restrictions showed people happy to ride

One bright side of the COVID-19 lockdowns last year was the boom in bike use.

Many people bought new bikes or dragged old bikes out of sheds for tune-ups. This means that one of the barriers to riding a bike: access, is no longer the case for much of Tasmania.

The pandemic lockdowns also showed us that more people are willing and capable of riding than was previously obvious. Clarence Council’s Foreshore Trail counter showed a significant spike in bicycle use on the path in May and June, which are traditionally the lower use months because of colder weather and shorter days, outstripping Jan–Feb which is the normal peak use time.

Encouraging more people to ride means they can get the 30–60 minutes of exercise they need each day and have a flexible transport option other than a car.

Electric bicycles provide even more opportunity to get people out of cars as they are capable of being ridden further and faster and can carry shopping and young children. While electric cars will be a big part of our future, electric bicycles are cheaper to buy and run and offer genuine transport options for the majority of trips most people take each day. Providing incentives for people to buy or lease electric bicycles should be considered to get more people riding.

If we are going to target the majority of the population to consider riding we need more safe places for people to ride. Cycleways 

separated from motor vehicles need to be built that will get people to work, study, shops and services. Where there are not available land corridors, these can be retrofitted onto existing streets by removing on-street parking on key routes. 

Current state and local government spending on bicycle infrastructure is not enough to build networks of separated cycleways in our urban centres. It is also not enough to implement the Safe Systems approach to road construction, which is to separate bicycles on roads of speeds above 30–40 km/h with high traffic volumes. Local councils receive funding from the federal government for roads but do not receive money for retrofitting cycleways; the state government should step in to provide this much needed funding.

Increased, secure funding needed to build networks

World-renowned urbanist and city planner, Brent Toderian once said, “The truth about a city’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision, it’s found in its budget.” It’s time the Tasmanian budget reflected the desire to be the healthiest state in the country by 2025 and a Towards Zero road toll.

Bicycle Network Tasmania wants to see $10.8 million allocated to bicycle infrastructure in 2021–22, representing just $20 per head of the population. The following table broadly outlines the investment for the key actions we think the government should take over the forward estimates to encourage bike riding:

As part of our budget submission, Bicycle Network is asking the Tasmanian Government for the following key asks. 

1. Establish a $44.4 million+ annual bike fund 

Without a dedicated, ongoing bike infrastructure fund the government cannot take a strategic approach to the expansion and delivery of bicycle networks.

2. Expanded Ride2School funding

Expand funding for the Ride2School program so we can also help secondary schools students to ride more often.

3. Establish a Ride2Work program 

Establish a Ride2Work behaviour change program, beginning in state government workplaces.

4. Help people get on to electric bicycles

Implement no-interest loans, grants and salary sacrificing to help more people access electric bicycles.

Download our Full submission

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