Facilities help more people ride more often
Evidence from around the world shows us that, despite its known advantages, widespread bicycle riding doesn’t just happen. Accessible, safe and supportive environments are required to make it the most attractive transport and recreation option. High quality bicycle facilities are the number one determinant of population-wide participation in bicycle riding.
Governments get good returns from investing in bicycle facilities
For example, in order for road and telecommunication networks to develop, governments invested huge amounts of money. Governments now need to respond to community demand and show positive leadership through investment in a comprehensive bicycle facility network. After all, bicycle riding, after walking, is the cheapest, most efficient and beneficial form of transport.
Governments often describe projects in terms of measurable costs and benefits. In assessing projects, governments develop Benefit Cost Ratios (BCR). Typically, road construction projects struggle to achieve BCRs of 1:1.5 (i.e. for every dollar spent, the return to the community is $1.50). Public transport projects rank higher, at around 1:1.5 or 1:2.
Studies in Europe and Australia are reporting BCRs for bicycle infrastructure projects to be generally a minimum of 1:2, with many as high as 1:20!! That means that for every $1 spent, at least $2 will be returned to the community with some projects returning as much as $20 per dollar invested.
The Perth Bicycle Network, for example has recently had a BCR calculated at 1:12 (that's a $1 Million investment returning $12 Million).
In order for society to reap the benefits of bicycle riding, people of all ages need places to ride
Education and developing a cycling culture within a community are integral components of achieving population-wide bicycle riding participation. However, without a well connected bicycle network, cycling remains the province of the bold, strong and fearless. The World Health Organisation uses the 5 to 75 test on bicycle facilities. If bicycle riders under the age of 5 or over the age of 75 will use a facility then it is of a standard to support significant growth in population wide bicycle riding. Bicycle Tasmania supports the "8 to 80" movement, which is dedicated to transforming cities into liveable places where people from the ages of 8 to 80 can safely walk, cycle and use public transport to access parks and other public spaces.
Every other State in Australia is investing in bicycle facilities
Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT and the Northern Territory have invested heavily to expand their bicycle networks. Per head of population, Tasmania is falling behind. All other Australian States have bicycle facility development units embedded in transport agencies at both State and Local government level. There is only one person involved in the Tasmanian State transport agency who works in the bicycle riding space!