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NRMA urges new NSW government to invest more in cycling

Alia Parker's picture
Cyclists share the road, Australia. Cycle Traveller

As NSW prepares to head to the polls, the National Roads & Motorists' Association (NRMA) has called on the next state government to invest more in cycling infrastructure, including the completion of a promised 'minimum grid' of connected bicycle lanes in Sydney's central business district.

Unveiling its Bicycle Strategy 2015 ahead of the March 28 election, the NRMA said the incoming government should commit to separating cars and cyclists as much as possible, particularly on high-speed roads. It said any new road developments should also include cycling infrastructure, following the model successfully implemented when the M7 motorway was built with a popular separated cycleway running alongside it.

“For too long decision makers have taken a piecemeal approach to building cycling infrastructure and safety and connectivity has suffered as a result,” said NRMA President Kyle Loades.

“We need to take off the blinkers and have a serious look at the cycle path grid around the CBD. We have some paths that literally go nowhere and others that are under-utilised. We need to connect the CBD grid in a way that will encourage more people to ride to work in the city – and not make it any worse.”

Mr Loades said 11% of NRMA members cycled at least once a week, and he had “no doubt” more would take to two wheels if cycling safety was improved.

He said the government needed to invest more in cycling infrastructure in NSW within a 2km radius of hubs of transport and activity, including bicycle parking facilities, and urged the next government to build safe cycling routes in 'missing link' areas of Greater Sydney. Some of the areas the NRMA recommends are:

  • Brighton Le-Sands to La Perouse via Sydney Airport;
  • Bondi Beach to the CBD;
  • Dulwich Hill to Lilyfield via the Inner-West light rail corridor;
  • Olympic Park to Parramatta and Olympic Park to the CBD; and
  • Parramatta to Baulkham Hills.

While the NRMA is advocating for safer riding conditions, some of its suggestions may not rub well with cyclists. The motoring body urged the incoming government to review the policy of allowing cyclists on motorways, suggesting it would like this banned in NSW as it is in other states like Victoria and Queensland. With motorways like Sydney's M2 providing important links for the city's cyclists, many bike riders would not like to see such a policy enforced until adequate alternative bike paths existed.

It also said there are opportunities to build more shared paths where it was not safe for cyclists to mix with heavy traffic, although said such moves needed to be “coupled with awareness campaigns and targeted police enforcement to make sure cyclists share the path responsibly”.

Image: Cyclists share the road. Australian road sign. Source: Shutterstock.

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