Separate bicycles from cars for genuine road safety

Fear of being hit by a vehicle is holding people back from riding a bicycle, which is a major problem for our health and transport systems, Bicycle Network Tasmania spokesperson Alison Hetherington said as part of Road Safety Week 2018 (30 April - 6 May). 

“The most common reason why people choose not to ride a bicycle for transport is fear of being hit,” Ms Hetherington said during Road Safety Week. 

A 2011 Heart Foundation and Cycling Promotion Fund Australia-wide survey found that 46% of people did not ride for transport because they were worried about road safety.

The survey also found that providing bicycle paths separated from vehicles would influence more than 80% of people to ride more often.

“It makes no sense to make bicycle riders mix with traffic travelling at 50km and above as the rider will always be the worse off in a crash,” Ms Hetherington added.

“Research has shown that 9 out of 10 people would survive being hit by a vehicle travelling at 30km; at 50km it’s only 2 out of 10.”

Bicycle Network Tasmania strongly believes that Tasmanians should have the right to choose a low-cost, healthy means of transport like riding a bicycle and feel safe doing so.

“Networks of separated cycleways in our cities and towns would allow children and adults to get to school, work, shops and home without fear.

“The city of Seville in Spain started building a network of connected separated cycleways in 2006 and its vehicle crash rate per million bicycle trips went from 16 down to 6 by 2013, while the number of bicycle trips increased from 3 to 17 million in the same period.

“If we provide safer cycling routes then more people are likely to ride more often which helps prevent diseases caused by inactivity such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

“Riding a bike is one of the easiest ways people fit in the one hour of recommended daily exercise they need for good health.

“It’s not difficult to retrofit separated cycleways it’s just a matter of choosing to prioritise the safety and health of our community,” Ms Hetherington said.

Bicycle Network is delivering Ride2School sessions in schools at Warrane, Cressy and Deloraine as part of Road Safety Week. 

A version of this article appeared in The Mercury