New cycling grants ‘unfair’ for non-cyclists

Transafe WA chairman Steve Post has slammed the WA government over their investment towards new cycle paths around the state.

He said the amount of money did not suit the amount of people it was going to benefit.

“My concern is that one part of the community is being treated differently to other parts of the community,” he said.

“I consistently see cycleways that have been constructed and then I see people on cycles not using the paths and using the roads.

“I would think government needs to be brought to account on that basis.”

The new $146 million investment would expand current cycle paths by more than 150km, while also upgrading local infrastructure.

The state government aimed to build a cycling and walking network which was safe, integrated and accessible.

Mr Post believed while more people might take up cycling due to the new paths, the government needed to do more to get cyclists off roads.

“It really takes a little bit more than government just throwing money at cycleways,” he said.

“It’s got to be a cooperative approach all down the road to identify where the problems are.

“From a risk-management point of view, cycles and motorcycles are not compatible with trucks and cars.”

Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand executive Sam Bolton said any opportunity to improve cycling infrastructure was great.

“The grants are a positive thing helping us build the network across the state,” she said.

“The safer infrastructure we have will encourage people to get out more often.”

According to an Australian Bicycle Council study in 2017, 42 per cent of West Australians had ridden a bike in the past year.

Ms Bolton said a multi-pronged approach was required for getting more people into cycling.

“You’re working with everybody and breaking down some of those barriers between different groups,” she said.

“Normalising it as well I think is a big factor.

“So it’s not cyclists versus car drivers or anything like that.”

Ms Bolton also said safety was a key factor for people as some people felt unsafe when riding.

According to the Australian Automobile Association, 34 cyclists died on Australian roads in the past 12 months.

Chain Reaction Training is an organisation which helps people get into cycling for recreation and training.

CRT owner Lindsay Davies-Moore said some cycle paths were more dangerous than using roads.

“Some cycle paths are too narrow and you’ve got to share them with walkers and animals,” she said.

“We know that we shouldn’t be travelling anything excess of 30kmh on a cycle path with a bike.

“A lot of the groups tend to ride on the roads because they want to go faster.”

Ms Davies-Moore also said safety on roads was a matter of respect between drivers and cyclists.

“It’s a life that you could potentially end just for the sake of giving cyclists a bit more distance when you travel around them,” she said.

She also said while the issue was frustrating, it was improving overtime.