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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1724 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The former Liberal government announced at the start of 1997 that it would have a trial of bike racks on ACTION buses, but this trial never proceeded because of concerns that the racks did not comply with the Australian design rules regarding protrusions on vehicles. I understand that the Brisbane City Council has addressed this issue by getting the Queensland state government to give it a special permit for the trial.

We have also recently been told by the government that bullbars are safe, acceptable protrusions on vehicles. On this basis, bike racks should also be acceptable.

Minister, if Brisbane, whose people use fewer bicycles than those of Canberra do, can do this, will you now initiate a trial of bike racks in Canberra?

MR CORBELL: No, I am not aware of Brisbane City Council's trial, but I am interested to hear of it and I will certainly seek further information on it. I am aware of the circumstances that made the previous government decide not to proceed with the trial of bicycle racks on ACTION buses. I think Ms Tucker's question highlights an interesting inconsistency, in that bullbars-from her perspective, I know-are unsafe and should be banned, and yet bicycle racks are potentially acceptable.

That aside, clearly the government must have regard to safety issues in relation to anything protruding from a vehicle, especially a vehicle as large as a bus. I will take further advice on the matter in light of Brisbane City Council's experience, and I will get back to Ms Tucker on that matter.

MS TUCKER: You had better seek further advice on what I said in the Assembly too, Mr Corbell. My supplementary question is does that mean that the statement on page 94 of your Labor Party platform, that the ALP will explore the use of bus-mounted bike racks as part of promoting an integrated bicycle and bus system, was a non-core promise?

MR CORBELL: Not at all, Mr Speaker. On becoming minister, I sought advice from ACTION in relation to the appropriateness of proceeding with the bicycle rack trial. I was advised that the safety issues were of such concern that it was not possible to proceed with the trial. Clearly, if there is experience in another jurisdiction such that that jurisdiction has been able to proceed with such a trial, I am interested in that, and am prepared to explore that further to see whether we can take similar steps.

However, the issue is still that items protruding from vehicles are either safe or they are not. My understanding is that the bicycle racks provided and proposed for ACTION buses went on the front of the bus and could potentially have the same sort of impact as a bullbar. That was the concern. However, the government is always open to exploring these issues further. We do have a commitment to having bicycle racks on buses, if possible. I think it is the way to go. However, we must first address the safety issues for those people who do not have their bikes on the buses, but are riding on the road.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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