Adjournment- Cycling Infrastructure

10 May 2018

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My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Roads and Road Safety, and the action I seek is that the minister invest more in cycling infrastructure. When it comes to bikes, last week’s budget was the same old news: stuff-all for cyclists yet again. Less than 1 per cent of new transport infrastructure spending was for bikes, and what was in there came about because the Greens pushed for more bike funding in negotiations with the government.

We all know good cycling infrastructure is absolutely essential to a livable city, and as a commuter cyclist who regularly rides into Parliament I know how difficult it can be to find a safe route, whether it be down Chapel Street or down St Kilda Road. I also know how good it is to ride for health and for our environment and just how affordable and convenient it is. Yet we have been let down by a seemingly anti-bike Premier who offhand dismisses cycling projects because they might not be good for cars.

Honourable members interjecting.

Mr HIBBINS — Members might want to familiarise themselves with comments regarding the St Kilda Road bike lane over the years.

This government voted down our mandatory 1-metre minimum passing distance proposal, putting it out of step with all other states in Australia. They released their very underwhelming cycling strategy with very little fanfare in the new year, with no commitments to any new routes apart from trying to greenwash one of their mega toll roads. This comes on top of years of neglect from the previous Liberal government, who of course cut the bike budget to zero.

The Greens have a strong record of delivering better bike infrastructure, particularly at the local government level through our local government councillors. It was something I was particularly passionate about when I was on Stonnington City Council. In fact it is local councils that are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to bikes, investing more than the state governments. It is time for the state government to step up and start investing in better bike infrastructure. It can start with separated bike lanes along our most dangerous routes: St Kilda Road in the Prahran electorate, where those separated bike lanes have seemingly been stuck in development hell for years; Sydney Road in Brunswick; Flemington Road in North Melbourne; and no doubt many other projects that are ready to go.

I have got no doubt that dollar for dollar on almost every measure bike infrastructure stacks up better than any other transport infrastructure investment. If we are going to make cycling safe and get more people cycling, especially women, who are under-represented, and if we are going to get the benefits of reduced congestion and better health to as many people as possible, then it is going to take some serious commitment for some better bike infrastructure. I urge the government to act.

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