Page 1614 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 7 May 2013

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benefit cyclists who are hesitant about riding on on-road cycle lanes. When complete, the cycle loop will be a 3.2 kilometre loop allowing cyclists easy access to all of Civic. In addition to the loop, this government has designed, built and maintained over 800 kilometres of on-road cycle lanes and off-road shared paths.

Another popular government initiative to support cycling worthy of special mention is bike and ride. Bike and ride is an easy, environmentally friendly and healthy way to combine a bike ride with a bus ride to travel around the city. We have committed $700,000 over three years as part of the transport for Canberra budget package to construct bike and ride facilities along the rapid transport corridor network. These transformational initiatives will help increase cycling participation rates in the ACT, which are already the highest in the country. Increased cycling rates benefit us all through managing congestion, reducing energy consumption and pollution and helping to make Canberra a cleaner, greener, better place to live today and into the future.

I am particularly pleased that this bill will allow the use of pedalecs in the ACT, as overseas experience has shown that pedalecs are highly used by two segments of the population that have been traditionally underrepresented in cycling statistics within the ACT—women and older people. While the ACT has the highest cycling participation rates in the country, with high rates of cycling by children and males aged 18 to 39, statistics show that there are significant differences between the other sectors of the community. While more than half of males aged 18 to 39 ride at least once a week, only 13 per cent of women in the same age bracket do so. There is also a significant reduction in participation rates for people aged over 40, with only 18 per cent of men and eight per cent of women in that age group riding a bicycle in a typical week.

With its unique safety characteristics and the helping hand it delivers riders, a pedalec-style bicycle can be ideal for many women and older members of our community who are reluctant or unable to use a conventional bicycle. These bicycles give riders confidence through delivering power assistance when first starting their journey. This assistance gives people who find it difficult to produce the effort needed to start pedalling on a conventional bike, particularly when going uphill, more opportunity to enjoy the benefits that cycling can deliver. This is particularly of use to older people who may no longer have the capacity for strenuous exercise that hill climbing demands.

Pedalecs offer considerable potential both in ensuring that the people already cycling maintain their interest into later years and also attracting new people in this age group to cycling. Pedalecs reduce the effort of pedalling, which also makes them ideal for commuting. The extra assistance the bicycles provide extends the distance many people can cycle, opening up commuting to people who previously wanted to ride to work but who lived too far away for them comfortably to do so. We have heard that pedalecs can eliminate sweaty cycling and the need for changing and showering at work.

These initiatives mirror similar efforts to increase cycling rates in cities and countries worldwide. For instance, London is investing significantly in cycling infrastructure.

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