THE need for a completed commuter path have prompted cyclist Michael Thomas (29) to run as an independent in the Cottesloe by-election on March 17.
“The electorate of Cottesloe has the second-highest number of bike crashes per kilometre of road, according to the website bikecrash.info,” Mr Thomas, a daily cyclist, said.
The Perth-Fremantle principal shared path (PSP) stops dead at the Grant Street station and does not start again until 5km south at Tydeman Road, North Fremantle, causing commuters, school students and tourists to dodge 2km of heavy traffic on dangerous Curtin Avenue, rat-run through suburban streets or use coastal walkers’ paths.
However, the State Government will not fund filling the gap until 2021, instead favouring the PSP beside the Mitchell Freeway to northern suburbs.
“Cyclists want to see funding released earlier because the plans already exist, mostly to the Marine Parade Avenue, and designs finished to Tydeman Road” Mr Thomas said.
The gap is the greatest source of complaints to cycling lobby West Cycle.
“The issue has been that when governments were looking at Roe 8, the Perth Freight Link and Fremantle port changes, they haven’t decided on things like where a PSP should go past places like North Fremantle train station,” West Cycle chief executive Matt Fulton said.
Mr Fulton said the gap could be funded as part of a larger project attracting Canberra grants, but a safety issue would have to be proven if WA’s Road Trauma Trust Account was used.
“The PSP is not an issue just for the electorate because it is used by people from across the metropolitan area, tourists, and gets cars off roads,” Liberal Party by-election candidate David Honey said, when asked how a Labor Government could be convinced to spend earlier on a PSP in blue-ribbon Cottesloe.
If elected, Dr Honey said he would work with councils and Federal Curtin MHR Julie Bishop for a cohesive argument to fill the PSP gap earlier.
Micro Business Party candidate Cam Tinley said new bike paths were consistent with Road Trauma Trust Fund objectives, WA First candidate Ron Norris said residents had to campaign for it to be a State or local government project, and the Greens Greg Boland said making Cottesloe a marginal seat could make governments spend on a PSP.
A candidates forum will be held at Cottesloe Civic Centre, Broome Street, 7pm, Wednesday March 7.