- What are the benefits of bike riding in moving people around in Tasmania?
The benefits of bike riding in Tasmania are numerous. Firstly there are the health benefits for bike riders: for the cardio-vascular system which increases physical and mental health; there also also benefits for the environment as less carbon dioxide will be emitted into our atmosphere if more people chose to ride bikes instead of driving cars. Less cars on our roads means less traffic congestion, a decrease in reliance on fossil
fuels, and a need for less car parking space. Cycling is also a wonderful way of enjoying our wonderful scenery.
- What are your policies to encourage bike riding in Tasmania?
The State Greens have a combined policy for bicycles and walkways:
Bicycles and Walkways: implement a state-wide commuter, recreational, tourist, local and school walking and cycling plan; ensure that walking and cycling are facilitated as a part of a comprehensive transport system, and integrated into transport decision making and planning; ensure that walkers and cyclists have suitable access to road space by pursuing a walkway,bicycle lane, and small vehicle strategy, including carriage facility for cycles on public transport.
The Greens believe that we need Federal funding to implement bicycle infrastructure to ensure that there is utmost safety provided for cyclists with dedicated bike lanes and building safe bike routes to schools to encourage children to ride.
- Will you pledge to increase bike infrastructure in your local community, if elected?
If elected I would certainly want to see an increase in the bike infrastructure in Bass. While there are a number of bike lanes within Launceston's CBD, I believe it would be good to have more, and I hear that many existing bike paths urgently require upgrading to ensure there is safe access for cyclists. It would be excellent if we were able to have more bike paths so that bike riders do not always have to share the roads with cars. The Greens also support the notion that motorists need to leave at least 1 m between their car and the cyclist.
- Which of the following projects do you aim to facilitate if elected, and do you have any other priority bike infrastructure projects?
- Launceston CBD to University Trail Upgrade
- West Tamar Highway (continuation of reseal through to Riverside)
- North East Rail Trail
I would like to see all the projects mentioned to be given priority as they all have merit: CBD to University is important for students and commuters having safe access to and from town; the west Tamar Highway is important for people who ride for fitness as well as commuters; and the North-East rail trail would be excellent for tourists and locals.
- How is the population motivated to use bicycles instead of cars? How will you promote cycling as an attractive form of transportation?
I think a lot more could be done to promote bike riding for both on-road and off-road. I think it would be excellent to have more bike trails that could feed into our eco-tourism industry. My partner and oldest son mountain biked the Annapurna track last year which was an awesome experience and I think that Tasmania could do a lot more tourism ventures relating to mountain bike trails that were linked to camping areas and/or accommodation. To encourage more people to ride in our cities, we need more areas for safe parking of bikes as well as an increase in dedicated bike lanes so that there is greater safety for people riding in the city.
Making car drivers more aware of bike riders is important: perhaps it would be good to organise fun rides/ family rides to promote cycling and traffic awareness for young people. I read with great interest the "Cycle to Work" scheme in the UK where bikes are exempt from tax and employers are encouraged to buy bikes for employees who want to commute by bicycle. In Nepal the government reduced the import tax on bicycles to 1% to encourage people to buy bicycles. Sounds like a good idea to me!
- 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?
How to encourage more women to commute by bike? I believe many work places these days have showers so that cyclists can shower before starting work which is important. I imagine for a woman to commute to work she needs to consider showering facilities, taking work clothes; make-up; shampoo & hair dryer etc which adds up to a more complicated "procedure" than for men. Safety is also an issue although I read that men are more likely to be involved in a bike accident than women. Participating in a Global Women's Cycling Day with some high profile women cyclists could be a good way of involving more women in cycling in general.
Safety is the biggest issue and I have heard that cyclists often have to deal with aggressive and speedy car drivers. The best way around this is to have dedicated cycle lanes. With that in place I believe we would have more women on bikes.
Now that I live in town I want to start cycling more, both in the city as well as off road. Safety is one issue but as my son points out, I have cycled in Kathmandu and spent years cycling in Hanoi where the traffic is horrific! However, these places have a culture of riding bikes, traffic is slower and there is greater tolerance and acceptance of cycling than we have. I find most of the MTB trails in Trevallyn bushland a bit challenging for me, but the rest of my family go there a lot. My most challenging cycling was riding from Granville Harbour to trial Harbour 2 years ago, which was fantastic. My family are forever encouraging me to try to keep up with them as they are keen MTB riders.