Australia heads to the polls on 18 May

Federal Election 2019

Our message to political parties is: build for bikes

Our priorities

Build activity into our daily lives

Australia is undergoing rapid and complex changes. Population growth, urbanisation and technological advancements are causing profound changes to our everyday lives and communities.

At the same time, our sedentary lifestyles are killing us. Australians of all ages aren’t getting enough exercise. We’ve reached a crisis point where we have a generation of young people that won’t live as long as their parents.

If political parties truly want to bust congestion, reduce the cost of living, improve health outcomes and protect the future success of our economy, we must make it easier for more Australians to ride bikes, walk and catch public transport. Government policy and infrastructure projects must incentivise physical activity and deter sedentary behaviours.

The long-term benefits of getting more people moving around our cities by bike are well established. Increasing bicycle mode share improves our health, saves money, reduces congestion, improves connectivity and access to employment and positively impacts the sustainability and liveability of our communities.

However, the Commonwealth Government continues to short change people who ride.

Despite “supporting measures to increase all aspects of active transport in Australian communities” the government has failed to work with State Governments to deliver desperately needed bike infrastructure or programs.

The Commonwealth Government holds important influence on the provision of economic and social infrastructure that has a major bearing on the whole community’s wellbeing. An integrated, multi-modal transport system is Australia’s greatest preventative health mechanism and congestion-busting tool.

This election, momentum is building for change. Major parties have an opportunity to set a national agenda that shifts our communities towards active transport. More than four million Australians ride bikes every week and many want to, but we need transformative and accountable federal leadership.

Our message to political parties and candidates is:

Build for bikes and reap the rewards of a happier and healthier Australia

Now’s the time to commit to making it easier for more people, of any age or ability, to ride bikes for their own health and happiness and the liveability of the entire country. 

Download our Policy paper

Our election priorities


The $492 million fund is based on $20 per head for the Australian population. This level of funding broadly matches what is spent in Denmark, London and the Netherlands.

These funds must be available to state governments on an ongoing basis so that bicycle networks are upgraded strategically. The outcome will be a completed network of high-quality bike routes that will greatly reduce use of single occupant vehicles and the demand for roads.

The amount equates to only five per cent of the budgeted nine billion to be spent on communications and transport infrastructure in 2019-20. 

Establish a national framework, policy or regulation that requires bike infrastructure to be part of all federally-funded land transport projects.

The provision of new or improved active travel links should be a critical measure of success for all major transport projects, upgrades, works and their ongoing maintenance. It should not be an additional extra. Positive provisioning ensures fair and balanced equity of access for all road users.

Ensure that the criteria of the Building Better Regions Fund makes explicit mention of rail trail proposals that will draw tourism dollars and provide benefits to local and regional communities from a transport, recreation and connectivity perspective.

Kids on bikes at National Ride2School Day


Incentivise active travel by introducing a scheme where commuters can receive a government benefit of $5 for every trip to work made by bicycle.

If successful, it’s expected the scheme will cost $500 million and encourage even more people to swap short car trips to bicycles, combating congestion and driving down the cost of living.  

Invest $3.9 million annually to fund a nation-wide Ride2School program.

Using a proven model of behaviour change within a school community, Bicycle Network’s Ride2School program successfully implements interventions which are proven to increase and promote active travel.

Since 2007, the program in Victoria has achieved significant success in increasing the number of students riding, walking, skating and scooting to school. Schools in the program report an active travel rate of 45 per cent, above the national average of 25 per cent.

Modify the Building Code of Australia to include the provision of end-of-trip facilities

Amend the Building Code of Australia to include the provision of end-of-trip facilities such as bike parking to make riding for transport an easy and accessible option.

Abolish the fringe benefit tax exemption for private vehicles and small business car parking

To motivate more people to swap their cars and prioritise bikes, walking or even public transport, we must remove incentives for single use vehicles and car parking.

Extend fringe benefit tax exemption to bikes or ebikes

To fast-track the uptake and growth of cycling participation as a means of transport, the fringe benefit tax exemption should be extended to private bicycle or ebike use.

The tax scheme for people who ride could mirror what’s done in Belgium and the Netherlands. These European schemes provide tax-free bikes to employees


Actively pursue technologies that improve the safety of heavy vehicles on our roads. Make it a requirement that all heavy vehicles in Australia be fitted with:

  1. Class V mirrors, and reversing and blind spot cameras, giving the driver a better view of road users around their vehicles
  2. Side underrun protection to protect bike riders from being dragged under the wheels in the event of a collision
  3. Audible left turn warning and reverse squawker alert systems to communicate heavy vehicle movements to all road users
  4. Hydraulic payload monitoring system to determine and notify drivers of real time truck weight

To support the widespread implementation of safety upgrades and to subsidise the cost, the federal government should offer rebates to help small owner-operators of heavy vehicle fleets. Strict timelines should be set for implementation so that all heavy vehicle fleets on our roads (both new and old) are fitted with the technology by 2025.  

Truck driver training and road user awareness programs are integral to the prevention of crashes involving heavy vehicles.

Funding a national awareness program like Bicycle Network’s Swapping Seats initiative would help to not only raise awareness but build a consistent and clear communication of behaviours for both drivers and bike riders. Vulnerable road user training should also be introduced and mandated across all truck driver licensing curriculums.

Adopt eight key recommendations from Bicycle Network’s submission to the National Transport Commission.

  1. The rapid roll out of hi-tech traffic camera technologies and legal reforms that make it easier for police to enforce distracted driving laws.
  2. A national advertising campaign to highlight the kinds of distracted driving and their consequences.
  3. Higher penalties for distracted driving with consistency across states and territories.
  4. Fast-track in-vehicle mobile phone blocking technologies and its mandated implementation across all new vehicles sold in Australia.
  5. In-built opt-out ‘Do not disturb while driving’ apps automatically activated in all smartphones sold in Australia.
  6. Implement autonomous safe-vehicle technology such as emergency braking and lane departure warnings in all new cars sold in Australia.
  7. Establish a national crash database to track the causes of crashes and the impact of distracted driving.
  8. Greater research into the motivations of distracted driving with a focus on smartphone use.

Urgently prioritise and implement the recommendations from the inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy

It is critical that the following recommendations are implemented to reduce harm and minimise risk for all Australian road users:

  • Establish a national road safety entity reporting to the Cabinet minister with responsibility for road safety
  • Set a vision zero target for 2050 with an interim target of vision zero for all major capital city CBD areas, and high-volume highways by 2030
  • Implement rapid deployment and accelerated uptake of proven vehicle safety technologies and innovation
  • Accelerate the adoption of speed management initiatives that support harm elimination.
  • Invest in road safety focused infrastructure, safe system and mobility partnerships with state, territory and local governments that accelerate the elimination of high-risk roads.
  • Make road safety a genuine part of business as usual within Commonwealth, state, territory and local government.
  • Resource key road safety enablers and road safety innovation initiatives.
  • Implement life-saving partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific and globally as appropriate to reduce road trauma.

A national bicycle crash database would help standardise and centralise data on the nature and causes of crashes. A consistent approach to data collection is essential to ensuring that a true national approach is taken to reducing deaths and serious injury on our roads.

Instruct the Transport Infrastructure Council to apply lower limits on local streets or those streets with high volumes of bike riders

Reduce speeds on local streets or in built up environments to 30km/h.

High speeds discourage men, women and children from riding their bikes for short trips – whether it’s to the local shops, school or work – because they don’t feel safe or comfortable. As fewer people ride and walk, our communities and neighbourhoods become disconnected, disengaged and unhealthy.

International Women Day Celebration


Ensure national agendas and strategies consider bikes

To ensure long-term, sustainable and strategic growth of cycling infrastructure, it’s essential that bike riding and active travel organisations have input into related national agenda and strategies including the Australian Government’s Smart Cities Initiative.

Adopt and implement the recommendations from the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities Building Up & Moving Out report

In examining the Australian Government’s role in the development of cities, the Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities came up with several recommendations regarding connectivity and active transport in their Building Up & Moving Out report.

Recommendation 11:

6.117 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, as part of the system of master planning under the national plan of settlement, ensure that governments at all levels:

  • Commit to a more sustainable model of urban transport connectivity than currently exist
  • Actively promote investment in the development of a public transport network that is capable of meeting the goal of the 30-minute city.
  • Actively plan for and promote the integration of active transport within the transport network.
  • Embrace innovation.
  • Ensure that transport infrastructure planning is consistent with planning for a more sustainable urban form and conforms to integrated planning at local, regional and city levels.

A new national bike riding strategy is needed to ensure the ongoing growth of participation and cycling tourism. It should set ambitious but realistic participation and growth targets and include monitoring and evaluation.

Bike policy should not be hard or complicated.

Parties of all ideologies can make a massive difference for people who ride. 


And if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our Federal Budget submission 2019-20

Budget submission

Candidate responses:

As we receive candidate responses to Bicycle Network’s Federal Election policy paper, we’ll make them publicly available below. 

If your local candidates aren’t on this list (excluding Labor who have replied on behalf of all candidates), now’s the time to send them an email or letter asking them to do more for people who ride. Don’t forget to cc’

Here’s a handy guide that makes contacting your local candidates easy. 

Write to candidates

Federal election commitment tracker

In the lead up to the election, we’ll update this page with the commitments made by major parties that are relevant or directly impact people who ride. If we’ve missed one, please let us know via email:


Latest news

Greens pledge $1 billion for bikes

The Australian Greens have pledged $1 billion in funding over four years to help make it easier and safer for more people to ride bikes...

Labor to fund Hurstbridge line link

Federal Labor has undertaken to fund a new bike path from Greensborough to Montmorency if it forms government after this months election.

Major parties support Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Both Labor and The Nationals in have made election commitments to provide funding for a section of the Northern Rivers Rail Trail.

Shorten commits $4.8M to Footscray route

The Shorten campaign announces $4.8M support for a major bike corridor through Footscray, linking West Footscray Station to the Maribyrnong River via Napier Street.

Funding for northern route

A Shorten Labor Government would invest $500,000 to connecting the dedicated bicycle lane on Cumberland Road in Pascoe Vale with the Upfield Bike Path.

Labor makes $260m bike pledge

The Australian Labor Party has said they will create a $260 million bike fund to build new cycleways if they win the federal election.

Election bike commitments begin with the ‘Boulie

Liberal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has promised that a re-elected Coalition will invest millions on Melbourne’s Yarra Boulevard and Walmer Street bridge.

Writing to candidates this federal election

Contacting your local candidates this federal election will help strengthen the voice for people who ride bikes in Australia.

Pay Australians to ride to work

Australians should be paid $5 every time they ride a bike to work under a new scheme proposed by Australia’s biggest bike riding organisation, Bicycle...

Surprise: a good election promise

The Morrison Government has promised to establish an Office of Road Safety if re-elected, a small but important step toward protecting the safety of all...

Pedalling a way out of congestion

The answer to traffic congestion in our capital cities isn’t in cutting back permanent migration, it’s in investing and creating space for active transport.

Risks continue to be ignored

News that another bike rider has been horrifically killed in a crash with a truck highlights the urgent need to address the risk that heavy...

Take action

We know that collective action makes a difference.

This election make sure the voice of bike riders are heard. Reach out to your local members and make sure they don’t forget about bikes. 

Make contact

Contact your local candidates and ask what they’re doing for bikes. We’ll share their responses online – just make sure you cc us at

Need help? Check out our handy guide.

Write to candidates

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