Facilities help more people ride more often
Evidence from around the world shows us that bicycle riding doesn’t just happen. It needs accessible and supportive environments to make it the most attractive transport and recreation option. High quality bicycle facilities are the number one determinant of population wide participation in bicycle riding.
Well-connected bicycle facilities increase Bicycle riding for transport
Governments get good returns from investing in bicycle facilitiesBefore Tasmania had a high quality road network very few people drove cars.Before Tasmania had a telecommunications network very few people were able to communicate by phone. People need a high quality bicycle network if they are to ride bicycles.
In order for road and telecommunication networks to develop, governments responded due to the benefits on offer and invested huge amounts of money accordingly. Governments need to respond to community demand and show positive leadership through investment in a comprehensive bicycle facility network. After all, bicycle riding, after walking, is the cheapest, most efficient and beneficial form of transport.Governments often describe projects as having measureable costs and benefits. In assessing projects government develops Benefit cost ratio’s (BCR). Typically, road projects struggle to achieve BCR’s of 1:1.5. (For example, every dollar spent, the return to the community is $1.40). Public transport projects rank higher at around 1:1.5 or 1:2. Studies in Europe and Australia are reporting cost benefit ratios for bicycle infrastructure projects to be generally a minimum of 1:2, with many as high as 1:20. That means that for every $1 spent at least $2 will be returned to the community with some projects returning as much as $20 for a single dollar invested. (For example, a $1 Million dollar bicycle facility project will return $2 Million in benefits to the community). The Perth Bicycle Network, for example has recently had a BCR calculated at 1:12. (That's a $1 Million investment returning $12 Million).
In order for society to reap the benefits of bicycle riding, people of all ages need places to ride
Education and developing a cycling culture within a community are integral components of achieving population wide bicycle riding participation, however, without a well connected bicycle network, cycling remains the province of the bold, strong and fearless. The world health organisation uses the 5 to 75 test on bicycle facilities. If bicycle riders under the age of 5 or over the age of 75 will use a facility then it is of a standard to support significant growth in population wide bicycle riding.
Every other state in Australia is investing in bicycle facilities
Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, ACT and the Northern Territory have invested heavily to expand their bicycle networks. Per head of population Tasmania is falling behind. All other Australian States have bicycle facility development units imbedded in transport agencies at both state and local government level. There is only one person involved in the state transport agency working in the bicycle riding space!