Melissa Houghton

greens

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  • What are the benefits of bike riding in moving people around in Tasmania

Bicycling and bike friendly cities bring a wealth of benefits to individuals and their communities.

The Greens commitment to seeing Tasmania transform to a bike friendly state is not just because riding a bike brings so many benefits – not just to the individual riding, but to the very fabric of cities and towns themselves.

Riding a bike, or just living in a bike friendly city, brings many health benefits. Australia has someone of the highest levels of physical inactivity in the world. Riding a bike not only improves physical fitness and mental wellbeing – studies have shown that children who are fit and healthy do better at school and regular bicycle riders take one less sick day per year than non-riders on average.

Bike riding also improves reduces traffic congestion, benefiting the local economy and improving the liveability of our cities and towns.

Bike friendly cities have cleaner air and less noise, water and carbon pollution.

When all these factors are combined, the benefits of bike riding are made very clear.

  • What are your policies to encourage bike riding in Tasmania?

Cyclists and high speed motorised traffic just don’t mix.  Building dedicated bike lanes and paths and upgrading intersections so that cars and bikes no longer compete for road space is crucial in developing bike friendly cities.

The Greens believe in greater federal government funding for bicycle infrastructure to

We want to see best practice rules for bicycle infrastructure implemented, such as:

  • The degree of separation should increase as traffic volume and speed increases
  • Bike lanes should be highly visible and of consistent treatment; and
  • Intersections, roundabouts and traffic lights should have bike friendly road treatments and bike lanes should be clearly marked across minor intersections and potential conflict points.

The Greens also support initiatives such as building safe bike routes to schools, to get kids riding early and keeping them riding throughout their life, better co-ordination with other public transport infrastructure, bike hire schemes and education and promotion programs to encourage riding.

  • Will you pledge to increase bike infrastructure in your local community, if elected?

I am passionate about Cycling and Mountain Biking and see great potential to encourage more bike infrastructure in Braddon for local and tourism benefit.

  • If elected, will you facilitate the North West Coastal Pathway, and what other bike Infrastructure projects do you intend to implement?

Yes.  I am strong supporter of the NW cycle-way to connect communities and encourage physical activity in local people.  I also believe this bring wealth to our area, as seen by similar projects in New Zealand where I spent a lot of time biking. Low impact projects such as the west coast bike trail in New Zealand are bringing valuable tourist dollars to rural areas and revitalizing small villages.  I foresee a similar benefits here on the NW coast.

I would also like to see emphasis on the state's Mountain Biking Plan ('Mountain-Biking in Tasmania: A summary of current trends and future opportunities) and promotion of the Tasmania Trail. Mountain biking is a great way of appreciating the outdoors, and also encouraging tourism.

  • How is the population motivated to use bicycles instead of cars? How will you promote cycling as an attractive form of transportation?

By building bike friendly infrastructure and dedicated bike lanes, commuters can be motivated to use bicycles instead of cars. Combined with education programs and schemes like bike share initiatives this will ensure bike riding is considered an alternative form of transport.

The Greens are strong supporters of the Amy Gillett Foundation’s national ‘a metre matters’ campaign. Greens MP’s across the country have taken action and moved Bills that will require cars to give at least 1 metre overtaking distance when passing cyclists.

  • The most recent survey by the Australian Sports Commission indicated that men were two and a Half times more likely to commute by bicycle than women. Why do you believe this is, and what Is your strategy to encourage women to cycle?   

There have been a number of studies and surveys conducted about women and cycling, including a recent study by the Heart Foundation in 2013 (http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/CPF%20-%20Women%20and%20Cycling%20Survey%202013.pdf)

When asked to name barriers to riding, women surveyed often raise “traffic and aggression from other road users” as a reason why they ride less than they would like.

Other safety concerns amongst women in relation to cycling involve traffic and cars, with the speed and volume of cars and trucks, as well as distracted drivers, being the major safety concerns.

Due to these factors, women feel that dedicated bike paths would entice them to cycle more frequently. The Greens plan to build dedicated bike infrastructure, constructed using best practise rules, would alleviate safety concerns and encourage women to cycle more.


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