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Cycling campaign group Pedal Power slams ACT government on injury rates


John Thistleton

Gloves are off: Pedal Power has hit back at the ACT government's reaction to cyclist injuries.

Gloves are off: Pedal Power has hit back at the ACT government's reaction to cyclist injuries.

Cycling lobbyist Pedal Power has slammed the ACT government for a "shameful’’ and "heartless’’ response to Canberra’s bike injury rates which were twice the national average in 2012.

Pedal Power says Canberra’s 87,000 cyclists should be creating a safer riding community, but instead the territory was becoming more dangerous because infrastructure spending was not keeping up with cycling’s popularity.

The ACT Chief Health Officer’s 2014 report released on Friday showed the territory had the highest rate of serious injuries to cyclists in Australia with twice the national average of injuries.

Pedal Power’s executive officer John Armstrong said the government needed to do much more than say injury figures were due to the ACT having the highest cycling participation rate in Australia.

“Imagine for a moment if the injuries from car crashes in Canberra was twice the national average,’’ Mr Armstrong said.

"The government, police and road safety authorities would demand an urgent response.

“Funding does not equate in any way to the 6 per cent target in commuter travel (by 2016) and certainly doesn’t relate anywhere near 6 per cent, let alone 1 per cent of the transport infrastructure budget.

‘‘For the last four years we’ve been asking (the government) to please back up their rhetoric with the target with appropriate resources to help."

Mr Armstrong said studies around the world had shown that as cycling numbers increased, so too did bike safety, but in Canberra the opposite was the case.

“I don’t have an answer why we are going against the trend,’’ he said.

“Safe infrastructure becomes important when people make a choice as to which mode of transport they will take. If they think it is safe and it is safe to ride on, they will easily choose to do that.’’

Pedal Power wants an immediate trial of lower speed limits in school zones, town centres and residential areas which have high pedestrian and cycling close to shared paths.

"The government could introduce a 30 km/h speed limit in all these areas at the stroke of a pen and save lives and reduce the overall accident rate," Mr Armstrong said.

He said the government should reconsider its budget to provide separate dedicated bike lanes in the central business district, Turner and Braddon.

Pedal power has nearly 4000 members, but Mr Armstrong said it represented many more Canberrans who may choose to take up cycling in future.

“Every single time we put in quality infrastructure the people will come,’’ he said.

Mr Armstrong said San Francisco town planner Timothy Papandreou, when last in Canberra, had identified safe cycling infrastructure as the cheapest and easiest way of getting people out of their cars and into active transport.

“It is such an easy windfall for government, it’s not funny.’’

When asked whether the government will achieve a 6 per cent increase of commuters on bikes by 2016, a spokesman for the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development Simon Corbell said he hoped the $12 million over four years allocated to expanding the cycle network would ensure the target was met.

"Canberra is doing better than most major Australian cities with active travel mode share, and the ACT already has highest proportion of cycling work trips of all the major Australian cities, despite its comparative modest size," the spokesman added.

49 comments so far

  • The sense of entitlement is truly breathtaking. Force everyone else to conform to your ideas due to your high risk hobby.

    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 3:18PM
    • "sense of entitlement" is that you Joe?...being a sedentary lump of lard is IMO riskier.

      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 3:45PM
  • These cyclists seem to be getting more shrill and more demanding because their hobby is dangerous for them. weird.

    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 3:33PM
    • Think of it as evolution in action.

      Cap'n Morgan
      Date and time
      June 30, 2014, 1:15PM
  • Why is it so hard? I seems perfectly obvious to me that cars and bikes on roads with often little clearance between the two do not mix. How many more will die or be injured in the name of health? Canberra bicycle paths need to be upgraded and offer the best routes for riders.

    Bicycle riders are just sitting ducks. It isn't always the car driver's fault.

    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 3:40PM
    • I love groundhog day. Every two weeks or so I get to have a very entertaining read........

      Date and time
      June 26, 2014, 1:16PM
  • What is a life of a cyclist when compared to a 0.00000000000000000000000000061 degree reduction in the global temperature?

    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 3:42PM
    • What is one less car driver compared to an 0.0000000000000000000000061 degree reduction in global temperature and concomitant end to his carbon footprint?

      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 4:09PM
  • We have double the cyclists, double the accident rate and double the amount of anti-cyclist online comments!

    Date and time
    June 25, 2014, 4:09PM
    • There is no place for these clowns on the road. Car Vs Bike is always going to end in tears especially for the riders. Ride aroung the lake if you need to cycle and leave the roads to the registered vehicles.

      By Sic Al
      Date and time
      June 25, 2014, 4:14PM

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