Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury called for a safety inquiry into the ACT's approach to cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists

Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury called for a safety inquiry into the ACT's approach to cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists Photo: Elesa Lee

CANBERRA'S road network is too vast to have separated cycle lanes everywhere, according to the territory's minister who looks after roads.

Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury last week called for a safety inquiry into the ACT's approach to cyclists, pedestrians and motorbike riders.

Since then, he said, there had been much talk of introducing a Copenhagen-style system of cycle routes to Canberra, a process known globally as Copenhagenising.

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Copenhagen has a lot of areas where bikes are physically separated from cars and other vehicles.

There are also some cycle lanes which have their own traffic light systems.

The Danish capital is one of the most cycle-friendly in the world, with some sources claiming more than one million kilometres are cycled there each day.

Mr Rattenbury said there needed to be a debate about how much of Canberra's cycleways could be blocked off from cars and trucks but he warned it would not be realistic to believe it could be done across all the ACT.

''Separated lanes have become the hot point (of discussion),'' Mr Rattenbury said.

He said most women who avoided cycling did so because of safety concerns.

''The need for separated lanes is particularly important in the context of female cyclists, and older and younger cyclists,'' he said.

''Not so much the Lycra set.''

The comment that more women would ride if the helmets did not mess their hair was wrong, according to Mr Rattenbury who cited a Cycling Promotion Fund study.

The Greens MLA said there were small plastic dividers that could be bolted on the road relatively cheaply, which might be a reasonable interim measure to add some sort of physical separation between bikes and vehicles.

In the past week the Amy Gillett Foundation, set up to campaign for the safety of riders, asked people to lobby their government to legislate for a minimum overtaking distance of one metre to be kept between vehicles and bikes.

''It already exists in countries in Europe and in 27 states in the US,'' said a letter from the foundation to followers.

''The law is practical, enforceable, will reduce serious injuries and will save bicycle riders' lives.''

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