14/10/2015 - 13:31

Perth cyclists stymied by poor planning

14/10/2015 - 13:31

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“It is hard to think of an activity with more benefits than cycling,” Auditor General Colin Murphy said in a report released today that concludes Perth’s cycle network needs better planning before bike riding can become a significant mode of transport.

Perth cyclists stymied by poor planning
Auditor general Colin Murphy. Photo: Attila Csaszar

“It is hard to think of an activity with more benefits than cycling,” Auditor General Colin Murphy said in a report released today that concludes Perth’s cycle network needs better planning before bike riding can become a significant mode of transport.

On Ride2Work day, Mr Murphy released findings from the report on the viability and safety of cycling in the city, including that around a quarter of Western Australians ride a bike in a typical week and almost half the state’s residents cycle at least once a year.

The report said that, amid a national environment of consistently greater sales of bicycle than cars over the past decade and worsening local traffic congestion, cyclists were being subjected to pathways that did not link, resulting in unsafe gaps in many areas within 15 kilometres of the Perth CBD.

“Although popular, cycling is not yet a major transport option,” Mr Murphy said.

According to the report, transport agencies have invested $143 million in cycling infrastructure in the past 10 years, $100 million of which has been spent on ‘principal shared paths’, which separate cyclists from motorists, on tracks also shared by pedestrians.

Despite this, Mr Murphy said continued gaps in the cycling network were impacting on cyclists' ability to safely reach all of their destinations. 

The report found local cycling routes that connect with shared paths had historically not been well planned and this had limited the integration of cycling within the broader transport system.

It said Main Roads WA was doing a good job of maintaining shared paths, but local paths and roads, under the responsibility of local government authorities, varied significantly in condition.

The state government has outlined plans to build 185 additional kilometres of shared paths by 2031, with an initial aim to double the number of cycling trips within the state over the next five years.

Mr Murphy said despite this vision, there was a lack of comprehensive knowledge or public reporting to the Perth community about where people were cycling, which hampered the ability of agencies to best plan cycling infrastructure.

To combat this the report recommended the Department of Transport prepare and publish an implementation schedule and funding requirements to improve its cycling infrastructure strategy, particularly in relation to collecting, monitoring and analysing data on cyclists.

It called on the Department of Transport and Main Roads to support and promote existing and new cycling infrastructure in an effort to increase the number of cyclists in Perth.

It also recommended that the Department of Transport should finalise transport planning frameworks that integrate all forms of transport, that in conjunction with Main Roads WA it liaise more with local governments about bike paths and consider developing a central crash and hazard reporting facility for the public to record safety concerns.

“Crash data is inconsistent between agencies,” Mr Murphy said.

He said while the WA Police collected crash information and the Department of Health also had data on cyclists that were taken to hospital after crashes, a comparison of their statistics suggested only 21 per cent of crashes involving cyclists that required hospital treatment were being reported to the police.

Mr Murphy’s findings coincided with Transport Minister Dean Nalder releasing the state government's blueprint for Perth’s cycling network.

Source: https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Documents/Proposed%20cycling%20and%20pedestrian%20paths.PDF

Mr Nalder said as part of a $27 million investment, shared paths along the Fremantle and Midland rail lines, the Mitchell Freeway and areas near major projects such as Roe 8 and the Mitchell Freeway extension would be upgraded or added to.

“This year the state government announced a $75 million investment in cycling over the next four years,” he said.

“The growing success of cycling in Western Australia is shown by a 34 per cent increase in the number of cyclists using our cycling and walking paths since 2011.”

 

 

 

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