WestCycle Advocacy in Action: May 2024

Loving the new signs, even better if the works included some lighting!

Here’s a few things we’ve been involved with in recent weeks:

Traffic Management for Detours

We continue to work with government – particularly Main Roads and Dept of Transport – to progress our recommendations for improving the planning and implementation of shared path detours. Change is happening, but it’s slow and not evenly distributed across all projects – yet. For example, you may have noticed on some detours, such as the Principal Shared Path (PSP) detour in Bateman, there are now large, clear signs on site with a decent map of the detour, information about the project, and contact details.

Loving the new signs, it would be even better if the resurfacing works included putting in lights!

This is great to see, but we still get contacted daily about problematic detours (which we then forward to [email protected] or the relevant local government). While we wait for the rest of the changes to take effect in government processes, we’re putting together advice for traffic managers, and we’re happy to see that our Detour Checklist has been making the rounds and sometimes comes back to us!

We are also starting to put detours on our own map as an interim measure to make it a little easier for you to plan your rides. This is very fiddly and labour intensive due to the information being spread across multiple government webpages, so bear with us. For those bike riders suffering the Mitchell Freeway PSP, we have what we hope are all of the detours on the map already. 

WA State Budget

It was hard to miss that the 2024 State Budget was delivered this month. We are still riding high on the $45m funding for off road infrastructure as part of the $165m ‘Outdoor Adventure’ package and in particular $17.5m  for completion of the Wadandi Track, which came after a long campaign by WestCycle and many others.

Swan River Crossings Project

The Freo Traffic Bridge development application was formally approved by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC). With consideration of WestCycle’s submission, requirements for the project to go ahead include “Maintaining cycling and pedestrian connectivity through the upgrade of alternative routes and the use of temporary signage.” If you know the area, you will know that its heritage charms come with narrow footpaths and poor surfaces. We hope upgrades to this infrastructure are done in a way that is useful for bike riders and is in keeping with the area’s character.

National Active Transport Policy Audit

We have been invited to provide active transport expertise for a national, academic study led by the University of Tasmania, that will collate state-based government policy relevant to riding bikes and walking. The audit will include policy across the transport and urban planning sectors relevant to the transport-related physical activity environment to identify similarities, differences, gaps and exemplars.

Submission to the Climate Change Authority 2024 Issues paper; Targets, Pathways and Progress

WestCycle is working with WeRide to pull together a submission on behalf of the Australian bicycle sector to the Climate Change Authority 2024 Issues paper.

The CCA will use submissions to inform its advice to the federal government for how it should approach the task of reducing emissions across all sectors of the Australian economy.

We think this is pretty important to get right, and from our perspective we have the perfect vehicle with which to undertake the journey to a future free of fossil fuels: the humble bicycle!

Bike riding has an important contribution to make to reducing the emissions from transport, and comes with a heap of benefits we are all very familiar with. Given something like two thirds of car trips in cities around Australia are less than 5km, there are heaps of journeys that are ripe for bike replacement. For this to be possible, we need governments to invest in low-cost treatments and speed reductions in local streets, and build a complete network of paths so people don’t have to ride with traffic.

Submissions are due by 28 May 2024, and you too can have your say here.

Motorbikes on shared paths – update

We met with Main Roads, Dept of Transport, Dept of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries, Road Safety Commission and WA Police about the presence of motorbikes on shared paths. It’s some progress that the meeting was convened, and there was broad support for dealing with the issue of motorbikes on the PSP network, but it’s frustrating that it took several months to just get to a meeting.

The consensus was that a range of actions will need to be taken to address the problem, from enforcement to better data collection to improving public amenities along the PSP network so that more people of all ages and abilities can and do get out on their bikes, making less space for antisocial behaviour to occur. Unfortunately there is still no clear plan for addressing the problem, but it’s a start.

Everyone at WestCycle has seen motorbikes on the shared paths when we’ve been out riding and it’s something that concerns all of us. We are considering what WestCycle can do in the short term to help with this issue, and exploring ideas like facilitating online reporting, advocating for more lighting and other safety features along paths, and different ways of raising awareness of the issue while also showing the high levels of support and concern for others present in the bike riding community.

We were pleased to learn that Perry Raison, a cyclist who endured a long hospitalisation after being struck and badly injured by a motorbike rider on a shared path, is back riding his bike again!

WestCycle Transport Advisory Group meeting

This group meets quarterly, and provides advice to WestCycle on issues related to active transport advocacy. For this meeting, the group’s expertise was directed towards the development of WestCycle’s advocacy focus in the lead up to the WA State Election in March next year. The following week we also received feedback from other key stakeholders, including our Road and Recreation and Mountain Bike Advisory Groups and affiliate members and clubs. More soon!

Coming up – tools for community advocates

It’s been on the to-do list for a long while now, but we are inching closer to getting some resources together on our website to help you advocate for bike riding in your community. If there is anything you think would be particularly helpful, please let us know at the address below and we will do what we can. We hope to launch the resources page in the next few weeks…

For more input or info contact WestCycle at [email protected].

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Tim Roach

Elected Director | Off Road

Tim has been in senior leadership and strategic development roles for more than twenty years. He is currently Director of Executive Education in the School of Business and Law at Edith Cowan University and is a past Assistant Commissioner and General Manager in the public service. He is an Accountant (FCPA) and sits on the Divisional Council of CPA Australia.

Tim has been involved in racing mountain bikes, BMX and triathlon for many years, both as a father of two children who race and as a past and current bike racer. Tim is the current over-50 State Champion in downhill mountain biking. He is also a very regular and enthusiastic transport cyclist; frequently seen in a suit and tie riding to meetings in the city on a mountain bike.

Denise Sullivan

Chair | Governance & Risk Committee

Denise Sullivan has a career spanning over twenty years in senior management and executive roles in the state public and not-for-profit health sectors.

In her usual role of Director Chronic Disease Prevention with the Western Australian Department of Health, she leads the development of state chronic disease and injury prevention policy and planning frameworks and contributes to the shaping of the national preventive health policy agenda.

Her professional interests cover many aspects of chronic disease and injury prevention encompassing health communications, health promotion and research, public policy on health and workforce planning and development.

She has a particular interest in furthering collaborations with other sectors with a mutual interest in promoting a more active and healthier WA community, and creating and sustaining environments that support this. Denise is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Leadership WA Signature Program, and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and the Australian College of Health Service Managers.

Denise is a recreational cyclist and recent convert to mountain biking (although trainer wheels still on!).