Cycling in the news 1 Mar to 6 Mar 2020

Late last month the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria announced that its submission calling for a network of cycling “superhighways” in Melbourne had been endorsed by Infrastructure Australia as a priority project for 2020.  

The RACV’s submission calls for more than ten separated cycleways to be built within the city, with a strong focus on creating commuter trunk routes from suburban areas into the CBD.

The Daily Mail Australia described the plan as a “radical call” to redevelop the city’s transportation network. Commenters on social media questioned the amount of money to be spent on the project, calling for cyclists to be charged registration fees to fund the development. Others argued the network wouldn’t be used unless cyclists were banned from riding on roads, or that cyclists were such a small minority of road users it would be a waste of resources.  

While Victoria looks set to expand its bike path network, the New South Wales government appears to be pulling theirs up. 9 News Sydney reported that as work continued on the WestConnex motorway the government was removing high-traffic pedestrian and cycling routes near Anzac Bridge while failing to provide safe alternative routes. The story was also reported on by The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It’s just going to become a point of deadly antagonism,” a Bicycle NSW spokesperson said. “People will be seriously injured or killed. It’s so dangerous.”

Lobby group Bicycle NSW has been using its social media presence to challenge the government, posting video to Facebook showing the dangers that cyclists face trying to navigate through heavy traffic on alternate routes.

Commentary on 9’s Facebook page was relatively unsympathetic.

The City of Ryde released a statement on Thursday announcing a new five kilometre cycle and pedestrian path along Pittwater Road and between Epping and Victoria Roads. Councillor Laxale described the project as part of “our ever-expanding cycle network”.

“By making it easier for people to walk and cycle, Council is not only providing more opportunities for residents to live a fit and active lifestyle, but we are also reducing congestion on our roads.”

In other news, University of South Australia PhD Candidate Hulya Gilbert recently spoke to Government News calling for “a move away from the idea that cars provide freedom”. Gilbert argues that for urban planning to improve governments must stop privileging cars in transport and urban policy and abandon the mindset that people need to drive everywhere.

In a press release, Gilbert argues:

“Despite the common view across the world that cars provide freedom and flexibility, increasingly we’re seeing the priority given to cars is infringing people’s ability—and right—to get around without one.”

Gilbert is currently completing her PhD research, which looks at active travel and play, child and youth friendly spaces and their role in creating environmentally sustainable and socially beneficial neighborhoods.

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