The 'Transport Election' - where's the commitment to cycling?
Public transport and traffic congestion have emerged as the two hot topics in the lead up to next month’s State election. But the major parties are missing a key piece of the puzzle, with no commitment made to promote safer cycling, or fund much-needed cycling infrastructure.
The Heart Foundation, Cancer Council and Bicycling Western Australia have joined forces to work towards a common goal – a doubling in the number of people cycling by the year 2020 (from 2 per cent mode share to 4 per cent).
Jeremey Murray, Chief Executive of Bicycling Western Australia said the current funding commitment, $25 million over 2 years (ending in 2013/2014), is "totally inadequate".
"The lack of any ongoing funding for bicycling infrastructure indicates neither of the major parties is truly committed to making cycling safe and accessible," he said.
"Bicycling Western Australia is asking for an investment of $500 million over the next 10 years to provide a safe, connected cycling network. That’s just 3% of the transport budget."
"The first step is to complete the existing Perth Bicycle Network as outlined in the draft Western Australian Bicycle Network Plan 2012-2021. There also needs to be a dedicated cycling representative on the Road Safety Council," Mr Murray added.
Maurice Swanson, Chief Executive of the Heart Foundation said improving the size and safety of the cycling network will encourage the use of bicycles for long and short trips.
"Cycling is cheap, environmentally friendly, eases traffic congestion and importantly, helps you achieve or maintain a healthy weight," Mr Swanson said.
Steve Pratt, Nutrition and Physical Activity Manager at Cancer Council WA said an investment in cycling will also benefit our finances in the long-term.
"Our over reliance on cars is not only draining our wallets through increased fuel prices, it’s also bad for our health. Being more active can lower your risk of developing a number of serious diseases, including cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes."
"If we can reduce the amount of people suffering these chronic conditions, we’ll also reduce the pressure on our health system," Mr Pratt said.
For detailed information, or to read more about current policies announced by the major parties, visit http://www.bwa.org.au/better-biking/676/.
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