Page 4295 - Week 11 - Thursday, 25 October 2018

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Safer cycling reforms—evaluation

Paper and statement by minister

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, Minister for Corrections and Justice Health, Minister for Justice, Consumer Affairs and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (3.19): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Evaluation of the ACT Government’s safer cycling reforms, dated October 2018—Prepared by the Centre for Automotive Safety Research, The University of Adelaide.

I ask for leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR RATTENBURY: I take this opportunity to table the evaluation of the ACT government’s safer cycling reforms trial and to announce that the trial conditions will be included in ACT road rules permanently. I also want to use this opportunity to emphasise the importance of cycling to the ACT. Yes, cycling still accounts for a relatively small percentage of trips in the territory and is dwarfed by the number of trips made by private motor vehicles. But cycling is unique in its ability to bring health benefits, environmental benefits and social benefits.

Increasing the number of trips made by cycling reduces the number of trips made by private motor vehicles. This is critical to the wellbeing of Canberra as a city. In Canberra we aim to be Australia’s most cycling-friendly city, as well as a city that is responding to climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing reliance on the motor vehicle. These goals go hand in hand. A key strategy in achieving this transformation is to encourage and support cycling through better infrastructure, through improved safety and through appropriate supportive rules and regulations.

Disappointingly, there continues to be angst between motorists and cyclists in the ACT community. It is evident in any public discussion about cycling. There are still motorists who dislike cyclists. Some of them appear to be disproportionately obsessed with cyclists. Some people make extremely disparaging and insensitive comments about cyclists, including about cyclists being injured and killed. At the very least, I would ask these keyboard commentators to remember that every cyclist is a person who is someone’s son or daughter, brother, sister, mother or father. It is not okay to endanger them or to make light of their injuries or death.

I want to be clear that cyclists are absolutely welcome here in our city. They are not just welcome; they are highly valued. Our community and our city benefits from cyclists and will benefit from an increase in cycling. We will benefit from the growing positive and supportive attitude towards cycling. More cycling means a healthier city, a happier city, a more environmentally friendly city. Even if you are a motorist, your car trip is easier because for each of those cyclists there is one less car on the road.

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