In 2018, WestCycle reached out to the City of Stirling after we were made aware of the original concept design of its ‘speed gates’ planned for the West Coast Drive shared path. After meeting and discussing the concept with the City staff numerous times, we recommended that the City use a softer approach as a short-term measure, such as the “shared zone” markings seen near train stations that is supported by a public awareness campaign that educates local roads users that it is acceptable for riders to be riding on-road to reduce hostilities from motorists. However, the City’s view was that a harder physical control measure was requested by its community, so a compromise, where at a minimum, larger bicycles had enough room to bypass these gates was reluctantly agreed to.
We were disappointed to see that the City decided to ignore this agreement and implement a design that did not allow for larger bicycles to bypass these gates. After they were installed, WestCycle along with West Coast Eagles executive Deane Pieters and Volunteer group Cycling Without Age met again with City staff. At this meeting, the City agreed to remove two of the bollards to at least allow larger bicycles, such as tricycles and Cycling Without Age’s trishaw to negotiate the bollards safely.
As the path has continued to become increasingly popular for both pedestrians and cyclists we can appreciate that this is an issue that needs addressing. Put simply, there is not enough space for the volume of people using the path to share safely. If the goal of the bollards is to encourage faster cyclists to use the road rather than the path, this solution fails to consider the road environment for cyclists.
At present, the road conditions are hostile and too dangerous for cyclists to share the road and this needs urgent attention. Ultimately, West Coast Drive and the shared path need to be redesigned to allow for a wider shared path that separates pedestrian and cyclists, and a less hostile road environment to encourage faster cyclists to ride on the road.
Overall, the more people riding is good for the entire community and rather than putting obstacles in the way, our local governments should be doing everything possible to make it easier for people to ride, especially on busy beach days when there are only a limited number car parks
We will continue work to ensure that a more holistic solution is achieved for West Coast Drive in the medium-term.