Bicycle Queensland says the Federal Government is missing a major opportunity to create real change in the move towards electric vehicles.
BQ has joined with all the major bicycle advocacy groups in a submission to the Federal Government’s National Electric Vehicle strategy.
The group has called for the Strategy to recognise the potential for e-bikes and other light electric vehicles to contribute to the goals of the National EV Strategy.
E-bikes and micro-mobility are increasingly popular as car replacements for daily commuting trips, they address the cost-of-living crisis through significantly lower acquisition and running costs than EVs, they are viable for the short transport trips that make up half of all trips each day in Australia and their use contributes to health, environmental and community benefits.
But at the moment, e-bikes are not included in the National Strategy.
The Boyne-Burnett Inland Rail Trail (BBIRT) is a great success story of grassroots actions by communities a long way away from the seat of power. Last weekend a second section was officially opened, 30km of trail from Mt Debateable to Mundubbera.
This is the “Bridges” section of the BBIRT, as the rail corridor runs beside the mighty Burnett River, and crosses the many creeks feeding the river as they run off Mt Gayndah and the Binjour Plateau. The bridges which cross these creeks are listed by Engineers Australia as being of heritage significance.
Unfortunately floods have seen off two of these bridges, Reid Creek and Philpott, making it difficult for the rail trail to run along the corridor the entire distance from Gayndah to Mundubbera. At present, the trail starts 10km out of town in Mt Debateable siding, as the Reid Creek crossing prevents the trail from connecting into Gayndah. However, there is a detour around the site, where the bridge across Philpott Creek once was, adding a few kilometres to the journey.
Like many Queensland rail trails, this is an adventure experience. There are sandy sections, bumpy sections, and a few steep pinches out of gullies. The trail is best suited to a mountain bike (e-mtb is becoming popular too).
But for the adventurous who attempt the Bridges section of the BBIRT, you are rewarded with great views, and several plaques marking historical sites of interest.
‘Packs and Pedals’ runs a shuttle service on the BBIRT, and they can help you explore either the Bridges section or the Tunnels section from Kalpowar to Ubobo in the Boyne Valley.
Major construction has commenced at UQ Lakes station in St Lucia. Bike riders will see changed conditions through the area as construction takes place. The Eleanor Schonell Bridge bikeway will be temporarily closed, but alternatives routes to navigate the affected area can be found below.
You can find more details of the construction notice here.
To find out more details check out the Councils website here.
Wouldn’t it be great if regular bike riders (such as Bicycle Queensland members for instance) had somewhere local that they could drop off for recycling those consumable items of bike riding, such as tyres, tubes and chains?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a central location for people who are interested in low-cost bike riding could access second-hand parts, especially those items such as cranks, saddles, seat posts, and wheels which often have a useful life long after they are no longer the latest and greatest.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was somewhere for mums and dads (such as Bicycle Queensland members for instance) to be able to donate children’s bikes and even adult bikes which are no longer needed but still have plenty of useful life ahead of them?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a central training location in our largest regional city for bicycle shops to send trainee mechanics, which also had the side benefit of fixing up low-cost donated bikes to go to worthy recipients?
The City of Gold Coast is looking at all these ideas coming together in a cycling/recycling hub. The City’s Water and Waste team hosted the first public discussions on the idea this week, and Bicycle Queensland’s Director of Advocacy Andrew Demack was there to support the concept.
Also represented in industry and community meetings were bike retailers and manufacturers, as well as groups such as Men’s Sheds and community bike repair groups.
“Bicycle Queensland’s members have so much to contribute to this type of Council-led project,” Demack said.
“We are enthusiastically supporting this project and hope to see it move from concept to pilot as soon as possible. I am sure that there are local groups in Brisbane and all the major regional cities which would love to see councils engage in proactively promoting a circular economy approach to the bike industry and many other industries.
“Bikes are well-suited to be ahead of the curve on this because the bike riding community is already very engaged on sustainability and recycling,” Demack said.
Bicycle Queensland has released a position statement supporting the further development of sustainable mountain bike trails in National Parks (and other land tenures).
“Bicycle Queensland believes that the key to unlocking the benefits of mountain biking is the access to land on which to build sustainable trail networks,” said Bicycle Queensland CEO Rebecca Randazzo.
“This will need the collaboration of the mountain bike community, First Nations people, State and Local Government agencies, coupled with the development of a robust environmental framework which would guide the planning and construction of sustainable trail networks in National Parks and many other land management tenures,” said Ms Randazzo (a keen mountain bike rider).
Mountain biking as a sport, recreational and adventure tourism activity continues to grow in popularity throughout Australia. A diverse range of people are discovering the freedom and connection to nature mountain biking offers. It can provide a unique antidote to the pressures of modern living and an appreciation of our indigenous heritage.
The social, health and environmental benefits of mountain biking are well documented. Participants get closer to nature, it keeps them fit, healthy and active, improves mental and physical health thereby reducing the future burden on the health system.
Mountain bikers have a strong appreciation for nature, and riding in natural areas has caused them to change their behaviour to take better care of the environment.
“Bicycle Queensland already collaborates with local trail care and mountain biking community groups, especially in south-east Queensland,” Ms Randazzo said.
“Mountain biking is a growth sport, and Bicycle Queensland sees that it has potential benefits not just for the health of those riding their bikes, but also economically through increased eco-tourism,” Ms Randazzo said.
Please direct all enquiries to Andrew Demack at email@example.com
Bicycle Queensland has welcomed the State Government’s new incentives for electric vehicle purchases, but says they don’t go far enough.
“E-bikes are the original zero-emission vehicles, and they are even better for the environment than electric cars,” according to Bicycle Queensland’s Director of Advocacy Andrew Demack.
“E-bikes require fewer resources to manufacture and run, and they are more efficient because of their relative lightweight, and the physical input of the person riding. In every way e-bikes are better for the environment than electric vehicles,” Demack said.
“We support the State Government’s initiative to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, especially for business. Logically, if we are giving financial incentives for people to leave fossil-fuel-powered vehicles behind, then e-bikes fall right into that same category.”
One of Australia’s largest commercial enterprises, Australia Post, has switched to small electric trikes which fall outside the regulations for e-bikes, so they have to be registered. Even with that added cost of registration, Australia Post sees a cost-benefit advantage in changing over their entire delivery fleet to small electric vehicles.
Bicycle Queensland urged the Queensland Government to think big and think wide when tackling the issues of climate change and sustainable transport.
“Just because a technology has been available for a while it doesn’t mean it should be discounted or sidelined. In Queensland, we’ve only just begun to see the benefits of e-bikes for commuting and utility trips. In many cities around the world cargo e-bikes are taking a much more prominent role as commercial vehicles, especially for delivery in congested inner-city areas,” Demack said.
In a letter to Transport and Main Roads Minister the Hon Mark Bailey, and Energy and Renewables Minister the Hon Mick de Brenni, Bicycle Queensland put forward the idea of a $1000 rebate on e-bikes, with a further $500 rebate if the e-bike owner also reduces the number of cars registered in Queensland.
“We have heard so often from e-bike retailers that customers are buying e-bikes for their family as a replacement for a second car. This has great financial benefits for those families, but also for Queensland. Fewer cars on the road mean lower emissions and less traffic congestion. Surely this is something that the Queensland Government should embrace!”
The average Brisbane family now spends more than $23,000 per year on transport, about 17% of household income. Let’s give Queensland families the nudge they need to ditch the second car, go green, reduce emissions, and live healthier lives.
In the lead-up to the Brisbane City Council’s budget, Bicycle Queensland’s advocacy team wrote to BCC Transport chair Cr Murphy outlining our top priorities following recent rain events.
We said the recent weather damage to our bikeways must be a signal to BCC to re-double our efforts towards making Brisbane a better place to walk and ride. Any other response will see our generation condemned by those to come.
BQ’s top priorities in Brisbane City Council LGA:
Complete Stage 5 of the North Brisbane Bikeway.
Continue with planning and seeking funding for the Toowong to West End and St Lucia to West End Green Bridges.
Rebuild the Kedron Brook Bikeway back better.
We have also been working with the North Brisbane Bicycle Users Group on potential interim solutions for local access to washed-out sections of the Kedron Brook bikeway around Stafford and Grange.
BQ and NorthBUG have written to the Lord Mayor offering these solutions and requesting temporary paths be put in place. Read our letter here.
Queensland school zones will be safer than ever, thanks to more than $40 million in increased investment in the state budget for two important projects to boost school safety.
Bicycle Queensland CEO Rebecca Randazzo has welcomed the State Government’s announcement.
“School crossings are a great investment in the safety and health of our children,” Ms Randazzo said.
Bicycle Queensland has called for better paths in the 1.5 km catchment around all schools as part of our plan to help Queensland become the healthiest state.
“The environment around our schools has to encourage people to walk, ride and scoot to school. We need not just safe crossings, but also wider footpaths in the 1.5km catchment around schools so that students and parents can find ways of getting to school that relieve congestion, encourage physical activity, and build resilience.
“Congratulations to Minister Bailey on this great step, and for listening to local communities who are saying that the trip to school for many families is an important opportunity to build some exercise into their day.”
“Safe infrastructure which encourages people to walk and ride is important everywhere in our local neighbourhoods, but it has to start with the trip to school,” Ms Randazzo said.
With active travel growing across Queensland, we encourage more school communities to invest in education and infrastructure to support students actively travelling to school.
To learn more, check out Bicycle Queensland’s Active Travel Schools webpage and gain access to free resources to get your school started!