To coincide with BikeWeek, WestCycle today launched a unified bike plan designed to get 1 million Western Australians regularly riding by 2020. Developed by WestCycle in partnership with the cycling community, WestCycle Chief Executive, Clint Shaw said the plan would be used to guide the future development and growth of cycling in Western Australia.
“The plan is all about getting more people riding – whether that’s riding to school, riding to work, riding around the river, hitting the trails or competing on the weekend.”
While the plan is a community driven initiative, Mr Shaw said he is hoping for collaborative effort across the entire cycling community, industry and government to deliver on the plan.
“The plan isn’t about any one cycling organisation, government agency or particular aspect of cycling. It’s a plan for all forms of cycling and for everyone associated with developing and supporting cycling in WA. This includes our clubs, cycling orgs, bicycle user groups, government agencies, local councils and most importantly, our riders.”
Over 400,000 people in WA ride a bike every week. The aim is to more than double this number by the end of the decade. The expansion of bike skills programs in schools, the introduction of cycling safety campaigns, the expansion of WA’s cycling network and an integrated approach to high performance cycling are just some of the strategies outlined in the plan.
Mr Shaw said addressing the issue of safety is a key focus.
“The key message that kept coming back to us during consultations was the issue of safety,” he said. “Everyone wanted to see more being done to make cycling safer.”
“The reality is that sharing the road with cars, trucks and buses in our current environment is putting lots of people off cycling, especially women and children. So if we want to open up cycling to everyone, not just those who are already fit and
confident, then we need to transform our roads and communities into places that are more welcoming for people on bikes.”
Other key targets outlined in the plan include:
- Achieving a 5% mode share by 2020;
- Reducing the number of serous bicycle injuries every year;
- Increasing the number of children riding to school;
- Reducing the disparity between men’s and women’s participation in cycling;
- Improving community perceptions of cycling; and
- Increasing the number of Western Australians winning gold at national championships.
Mr Shaw says the plan will benefit all of WA, not just those who ride bikes.
“When you look at some of the major problems confronting our state, like congestion, rising fuel costs and growing obesity rates, cycling is part of the solution,” Mr Shaw said.
“Not only that, but encouraging cycling is also about making our communities more active places, encouraging community engagement and generally creating better places to live.”
The plan has been a key initiative of WestCycle since its inception and is the culmination of 18 months of consultation work with its member organisations and the broader cycling community.
The Department of Sport and Recreation provided funding support for the development of the framework.
Mr Shaw emphasised the need for a collaborative approach across the entire cycling industry and government to deliver on the plan.