AN EDUCATION campaign to make cyclists safer on the road will only be successful if it is coupled with an improved and larger bicycle infrastructure network, according to a WA cycling body.
Bicycle Transport Alliance chief executive Heinrich Benz said he welcomed the State Government’s announcement last week that it would be spending $300,000 on a new education campaign to promote greater road safety between motorists and cyclists, but that it was only one of many things needed to make the State a safer place for bike users.
He said the campaign was a welcome first step, but needed to be supported by lower speeds, safe passing legislation and increased spending on cycling infrastructure, with Fremantle leading the way in local safety initiatives.
‘Thanks to the work of BikeFreo in developing a Fremantle Bicycle Network and their work with the City of Fremantle, good progress is being made on developing cycling infrastructure and in encouraging cycling in the city,’ he said.
‘The bike path from Perth to Fremantle needs to be completed urgently because the Curtin Avenue section is highly dangerous and the entry into Fremantle via Tydeman Road is a mess.’
He said if motorists rode a bike regularly on a normal road during daylight hours, they would see just how dangerous it actually was.
‘It’s hazardous when drivers do not ‘see’ you or do not leave at least a metre when they pass you,’ he said.
‘The whole adversarial approach is not helpful because while most regular cyclists are at times drivers of cars, most regular car drivers are not cyclists and many believe that bicycles should not be on the roads at all.’
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the city had invested heavily in bicycle safety. This was causing a shift in perception as local motorists seemed more tolerant of cyclists.
‘As more people ride I think we’re seeing an attitude shift by motorists where cyclists have become an expected part of the transport mix in Fremantle,’ he said.
Acting Road Safety Minister John Day said the campaign would help to influence the behaviour of road users.
Visit www.ors.wa.gov.au for more information on the new campaign.