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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 14 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 5334..


MS BRESNAN (continuing):

I will leave the issue of sustainability for a moment to talk about other reasons for prioritising pedestrians and cyclists. Walkable and rideable communities are cohesive and vibrant communities. They accommodate everybody and remember that everyone is a pedestrian. They massively increase the social dividend of our towns by promoting interaction, engagement and street life. The streets become busy with life, which, of course, makes them safer.

Evidence from around the world also shows redesigning cities to prioritise walking and cycling is great for business. These places attract more people who stay for longer. This contrasts to the drive-by shopping we are seeing in areas designed for cars. Look at Brighton in England, for example, which introduced pedestrian-friendly shared spaces to its town centre. It has measured an incredible 600 per cent increase in staying activity in the area. When people stay, they also spend money.

I also want to mention that motorcyclists can be identified as vulnerable road users, and I acknowledge the recent motorcycle awareness week, which was a joint initiative between the Motorcycle Riders Association of the ACT, the Canberra branch of the Ulysses Club, Girls on the Move and Canberra Riders, with support from the ACT government. Motorcycles make up only 4.5 per cent of all registered passenger vehicles on Australia's roads, although this is growing, but they account for 15 per cent of road deaths and an even higher proportion of road-related serious injuries. Motorcyclists are 23 times more likely to be killed per kilometre travelled than car occupants and 41 times more likely to be seriously injured.

One of the key aims of the Motorcycle Riders Association is to improve road safety outcomes. The association has been campaigning on the type of roadside barrier systems. For example, although wire rope barriers are being touted as the silver bullet for stopping car crashes on freeways, they can be lethal to motorbike and scooter riders. There is concern that this style of barrier contributed to the death of a Canberran this year. I understand the riders association met with the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services this year and were given assurances that Roads ACT would look at improving the current arrangements. I will be interested to see how this issue has progressed.

There is much to say on this matter of public importance, and the Greens are advocating for a number of changes in this area. Ms Le Couteur will add some further thoughts on the Greens' perspective. In conclusion, I want to emphasise that Canberra has so much further to go. We are not a city that is really prioritising its vulnerable road users, and they are not as protected as they should be. Non-motorised transport needs to become a key transport mode for the future. For that to happen, we need a genuine shift from the government to prioritise it and its attitudes, policies and funding.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra-Chief Minister, Minister for Transport, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Minister for the Arts and Heritage) (3.16): I am very pleased to be able to speak on this matter of public importance today.


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