TODAY the Chief Minister and Minister Steel recommitted their support for active travel – cycling and walking.
The benefits of cycling are clear: cycling improves health and wellbeing; it eases congestion; it saves money; and it produces no greenhouse gas emissions.
When more people cycle our economy benefits, our environment benefits, all road users benefit, and our community benefits.
Crucially, cycling allows people to socially distance while getting from A to B.
Climate change is forcing us to find alternatives to private car travel and now COVID is forcing us to final alternatives to Public Transport. So, we need to do all we can to make it easier for people to travel by bike.
It is good to see the Chief Minister and Minister Steel acknowledge this need.
The Chief Minister said: “We want to harness the enthusiasm for active travel that we’ve seen during the pandemic, and make it more attractive to walk and cycle around our city.”
Pedal Power was also heartened to hear the government plans to invest in more comprehensive bike riding infrastructure in the near future.
Minister Steel said: “This is just the start. We’ll continue to build even more active travel upgrades including new additional projects proposed to the Federal Government under the Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program.”
Research has shown that investment in cycling creates jobs and boosts retail. In fact, building cycle paths creates more jobs than the equivalent length of road.
To date, most of the stimulus funding the ACT Government has committed has been used for paths that facilitate connectivity between suburbs.
Today’s announcement included a small amount of funds for maintenance which is desperately needed to help fix some real black spots, but we still need a much larger commitment of funds to properly manage and maintain our cycle path network which is a valuable public asset.