Bicycle budget needs boost to build cycleways

Bicycle Network has made a submission to the Tasmanian Government’s budget process, calling for a $32 million bicycle infrastructure fund to build safer cycleways.

To increase the number of people riding we need more places for people of all ages and abilities to ride. Cycleways separated from motor vehicles need to be built that will get people to work, study, shops and services.

Current state and local government spending on bicycle infrastructure is not nearly enough to build networks of separated cycleways in our urban centres.

At the last election, the state government promised to spend more than $800 million on new and improved road infrastructure over five years, but only $8.45 million over four years for roadway bicycle infrastructure. This represents just over 1% of the roads infrastructure budget.

Most of this money was promised for state road infrastructure, which does not target where it’s needed to get people riding for transport: local roads.

Bicycle Network’s proposal lifts funding to 5% of the road infrastructure budget at roughly $15.50 per head of the population.

Behaviour change programs

Bicycle Network will receive $360,000 over four years to deliver a road-safety focused Ride2School program in primary schools across the state.

The budget submission asks for this funding to be increased at the end of the four years so we can deliver a broader behaviour change program.

Likewise, a Ride2Work program could help people to make the switch from car travel to bicycle travel.

The budget submission proposes that the government funds a Ride2Work program in its departments and business enterprises that would include lessons, route planning, buddy systems, fleet bikes and gear advice.

Associated with Ride2Work is a much needed change to planning laws that would require developers to include bike parking and end-of-trip facilities in new developments. The state government should also be ensuring that any of its buildings are retrofitted with such facilities.

Cycle tourism

The government’s stated desire to be the cycling state of Australia was given a welcome boost with its $6 million cycling tourism fund.

Many Tasmanian mountain bike track projects benefitted from the fund, which was a great boost to the sector.

Bicycle Network has suggested rolling out another $6 million fund, but this time with more focus on cycling touring and rail trails to create a genuine cycling state.

Separated cycleways in our urban centres add to this as many tourists spend more than one night in Hobart and Launceston and should have the option of touring the sites on bike. 

With plans being floated to introduce ferries and light rail in Hobart, the government needs to fund Metro to better integrate bicycles with public transport.

All areas around the state would benefit from buses with bicycle racks and secure, undercover bicycle parking at selected bus stops.

The full list of Bicycle Network Tasmania’s key funding asks of the Hodgman Liberal government:

  1. Establish a bicycle infrastructure fund to begin delivering separated cycleways.
  2. Embed funding for the Ride2School program into recurrent expenditure following the end of the current trial and expand its focus to a behaviour change program.
  3. Establish a Ride2Work behaviour change program, beginning in state government workplaces.
  4. Broaden the Cycling Tourism funding to rail trails and statewide touring.
  5. Implement planning policy changes to require end-of-trip facilities and bicycle parking.
  6. Implement an integrated transport policy so bicycle riding can seamlessly fit in with bus, and proposed ferry and light rail/trackless tram travel.