Cycling in the news: 12 – 18 October

Despite the popularity of cycling among Canberrans (reported to be the fifth most popular activity in Australia), The Canberra Times points out that commuter cycling rates among women are low. Mountain biking, however, is growing in popularity in Canberra, especially among school-age children, and there are plans to build a new network of trails at Mount Stromlo.

In related news, Canberrans are happy that original plans to remove the the bituman cycling training track at Mount Stromlo have been quashed.

A female motorist who hit professional cyclist Jason Lowndes last year will likely avoid a custodial sentence. The motorist pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death. The incident was reported by the ABC as well as the Bendigo Advertiser. And while many of the Facebook comments are sympathetic, there is some implicit victim blaming. See also here.

There’s been a lot of debate about cycling infrastructure in Newcastle. A safety review was conducted after the death of a Newcastle cyclist who fell from his bike after his wheels got caught in the rail tracks (see last week’s cycling in the news post). Included in the review’s eight recommendations was a cycling ban around the area in question, however the Newcastle Herald reports that the cycling ban has been ineffective, and cyclists are said to be unhappy about being prohibited from the area. This article in The Daily Telegraph claims that the cyclist ban has been labelled the ‘lazy option’. The Newcastle Herald claims that the government knew about the risks posed to cyclists, but went ahead with the plan anyway. The issue has generated a lot of criticism of the local government.

In related news, the council has announced plans to build Newcastle’s first separated bike path, however a desired continuous east-west link looks much less likely. The Facebook comments are conflicted, with some questioning government spending and planning, and some indicating that cyclists won’t use it anyway.

ACT Police have announced a crackdown on cyclist passing laws. After the introduction of safe passing distances police have focused on education but would now be more strictly enforcing compliance, they said. Facebook comments contain plenty of anti-cycling sentiment.

In Victoria, the maximum age for children who can ride a bike on walking paths has been raised from 12 to 13, reports the Herald Sun.

Daniel Oakman from Cycling Tips argues that the familiar cyclist vs motorist conflict has a long history.

A female cyclist was killed after being hit by a truck on the Pacific Highway in NSW.

Local residents have expressed their opposition to a proposed safe cycling corridor connecting Dandenong to Melbourne.

The Canberra Times points out the importance of incidental exercise such as cycling, in keeping people active and tackling obesity.

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