Federal budget: help us pedal to a better normal

Tomorrow's federal budget is set to include a big spend on infrastructure projects to create jobs and help Australia's economy bounce back from COVID-19. We believe bikes can be a big part of this.

Before the budget announcement was postponed in May, Bicycle Network made a submission to the federal government with a dedicated investment plan for bikes.

The Pedalling to a Better Normal plan provides actions to encourage riding, reduce congestion and overcrowding on public transport, make our streets and public places more people friendly and help people live healthy and active lives.

As we work towards a COVID-normal Australia, these things will be vital.

Central to the plan is a $100m federal government fund to build better places to ride. The fund could create 250km of adaptable, separated bike lanes throughout Australia, making it easier for people to get to work and our city centres.

A bike infrastructure fund would help build more dedicated bike lanes, like this one in Bendigo in regional Victoria.

The submission also features a plan to help make bike riding a social norm, something that anyone can do anytime.

This includes a paid ride-to-work scheme where commuters can claim $5 for each day that they ride a bike to work.

As well as helping people be active and healthy, a paid ride-to-work scheme would be extra incentive for people to return to their workplace when it is safe to do so. This would help bring life back to our cities and high streets and turn the wheels of the economy.

A national Ride2School scheme would help young Australians become more confident bike riders and create long-term healthy habits. There is huge interest in riding spurred by the COVID-19 bike boom, the time to pounce is now.

Protecting people who ride with higher safety standards for heavy vehicles is also part of the submission.

The big infrastructure build that is set to be included in the budget inevitably means that there will be more heavy vehicles on our roads. It's vital that we make sure the risks posed by these vehicles are minimised.

Including funding and planning for bikes in the 2020-21 Federal Budget would not only create more jobs for Australians but also create a more resilient and healthy nation.

Click to read more and download a copy of Bicycle Network's Pedalling to a Better Normal submission.

Download submission

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