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$129 million for bike paths

Cycle paths 15km around Perth's CBD will be prioritised

Credit: Julia Kalotas

Cycle paths 15km around Perth's CBD will be prioritised

Yvonne Ardley, ECU Reporter

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The State Government’s announcement of $129 million into new cycling network projects, has been welcomed by both cyclists and motorists.

The project will prioritise paths around Perth’s CBD and its surrounding 15 km and will include at least 95 km of new cycling paths.

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) of Western Australia have said they support the State Government’s investment. Will Golsby, RAC General Manager of Corporate Affairs said they’re happy to see more bikes and less cars on the road and have consistently called for investment in cycling in State Budget submissions.

“Investment in cycling has wide-ranging benefits across many government sectors including transport and health, and such investment can deliver greater economic returns on investment than many other urban transport investments,” he said.

“There is an urgent need for better cycling infrastructure to boost cycling participation and help reduce the number of cyclist fatalities and serious injuries on our roads.”

Golsby says this is a view reflected by their members.

“In a recent survey of RAC members, 64% said they would like to see the Government improve Perth’s off-road cycle network.”

International cycling enthusiast Fiona Chambers, believes it is time for Perth to upgrade cycling infrastructure.

“Some parts are done really well, like the cycle paths that follow the train lines and around the river, and the new roads in the city that have little lights for cyclists, but there was/is a lack of continuity,” she said.

“You’ll be sent onto the road for a short section and then back onto the cycle path and then it will just stop.”

“Like the new Elizabeth Quay section, they’ve taken out a chunk of the iconic Perth ride around the river and made it so bikes have to either ride on a busy road detour or over cobblestones amongst pedestrians walking all over the place.”

The RAC has warned that Perth could have the most congested roads in Australia by 2031. Infrastructure Australia have said that this congestion will incur an annual cost of $16 billion to the state.

The RAC WA Congestion Survey 2015 also said that businesses claim the number one consequence of congestion, loss of productivity.

Transport minister Rita Saffioti said the increase in cycling infrastructure is part of their solution to minimising congestion,

“More principal shared paths are vital for encouraging cycling participation,” she said.

“The strategic expansion of the cycling network will coincide with our expansion of METRONET as part of our multifaceted approach to reducing congestion.”

“These projects will provide pedestrians and bike riders with extended lengths of safe, high-quality paths which will separate them from road users helping to ensure that everyone is able to travel safely while easing congestion.

In another cyclist-friendly move, in April of this year State Minister for Road Safety Michelle Roberts said the McGowan Government was dedicated to trialing a law in which drivers would be required to give cyclists a one metre berth.

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$129 million for bike paths