Categories
Advocacy Press releases

Queensland Government invest $315 million in bikeways

The Queensland Government has committed $315 millon over the coming four years to expand the network of bikeways and walking paths. Bicycle Queensland applauds this investment, which overshadows the recent announcement of a $100 million Active Transport Fund.

The state government is aiming to encourage more Queenslanders to leave their cars at home, however the $315 million investment is still a fraction of the eye-watering $34.7 billion that is registered in the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) following the state budget announcment. So while $315 million seems like a lot, and it is, it’s not even 1% of the total investment in transport. The United Nations suggest 20% of transport infrastructure funding should go towards active transport, but Queensland is falling well short.

‘Every person who rides a bike or walks to work, school, to socialise or to go to the shops means less traffic and less pollution, and can also mean savings on transport costs,’ stated Transport and Main Roads Minister Bart Mellish. ‘It’s not only cheaper than using a car but it’s much better for your health and we think Queenslanders deserve world class active transport facilities.’

The Queensland government state that for every dollar invested in a bikeway, nearly five dollars are returned in economic benefits to Queensland – however the cost to benefit ratio for many built motorways is as low as 0.24, compared to close to 5.0 for bikeways.

Some other projects of note within this funding include:
– $41.5 million for the Cairns Southern Access Cycleway (co-funded with the federal government)
– $36.1 milion velobridge over Birdwood Road on the Veloway 1 in Greenslopes
– $9.4 million towards the second stage of the New England Highway Bikeway between Highfields and Toowoomba
– $10.4 million for improvements to active transport on Moggil oad from the Centenary Motorway to Chapel Hill Road.
– $22.5 million to fill gaps on the Riverwalk at Kangaroo Point – which makes an unbroken link between Kangaroo Point and Mowbray Park
– $9.6 million to develop a network of bike-friendly streets in South Brisbane, Highgate Hill and West End.

‘Bicycle Queensland members and the 800,000 Queenslanders who regularly ride a bike all welcome this announcement from the Minister,’ said Andrew Demack, Bicycle Queensland’s Director of Advocacy. ‘Building bikeways is great value for money for Queensland towns and cities, and we’re keen to see connected, high-quality bikeways built that give people the chance to get to their destinations safely while building their fitness and reducing congestion and carbon emissions.’

Categories
Advocacy

Toowoomba creates Queensland’s first Safe Active Street

On Friday June 21, 2024, Toowoomba Regional Council opened Queensland’s first Safe Active Street on Pierce Street in Toowoomba. Not just a first for Queensland, this was a first for the whole eastern seaboard of Australia. A Safe Active Street prioritises cycling, with a speed limit of 30km/h. Cars need to yield to cyclists, with painted lanes making all road users aware of the changed conditions.

Dropping the speed limit to 30km/h reduces the severity of any collisions between road users (no matter the modality) but it also helps make more bike riders feel safer on said street. Piercee Street in Toowoomba is a connector on the West Creek Cycleway, and amending the street into a Safe Active Street was a more cost-effective solution than creating a separated bikeway to create the connection. As Pierce Street ends in a quiet cul-de-sac there will be minimal impact on drivers of vehicles, but enhanced safety for those on bikes.

What does a Safe Active Street mean?

  • The speed limit is 30km/h. This applies to all road users.
  • People riding bikes are to ride near the centre of the shared travel lane (the terracotta painted zone).
  • People driving cars are to maintain 30km/h or less behind the person on a bike until safe to overtake, ensuring a distance of one metre from the rider. You are allowed to drive over the outside lines of the terracotta zone to overtake safely or to pass an oncoming vehicle.
  • Always give way to oncoming traffic and drive or ride in a safe and courteous manner.

Brian McKay, Senior Transport Planner at Toowoomba Regional Council, explained the concept of a Safe Active Street, and why they can be an important part of transport networks – and also affect change.

‘A Safe Active Street is something that is common throughout a lot of countries in Europe. Basically it is a street where everyone shares the same space. It has a lower speed environment… and we all know that 30km/h is that critical speed limit for safety. Bike riders have priority on this street and car drivers will have to sit behind a cyclist until they’re safe to move past.’

Having looked at various options to solve this missing link on the West Creek Cycleway, this was deemed the best fit by council.

‘We have a very car dominated road network in Queensland and in Australia,’ added McKay. ‘So all the time we can get these incremental changes to show people that there is a different kind of behaviour that is appropriate and safe for all users, then it is a great outcome for all.’

Categories
Advocacy

New Veloway bridge over O’Keefe street

Transport and Main Roads (TMR) recently opened a new bridge on the Veloway. removing a dangerous intersection on this critical piece of cylcling infrastructure. The bridge was opened by the Hon Bart Mellish, alongside Mark Bailey, Joe Kelly and other dignitaries.

Andrew Demack, our Director of Advocacy, was at the bridge opening and was enthusiastic about the impacts it will have.

‘This bridge takes out a really dangerous crossing on O’Keefe street and the crossing with Carl street. Morning peak hour on Carl street was horrendous, and this new bridge takes all of that out.’

Instead, when you approach the city you now come in on a long loop under the main road, with a gentle gradient taking you onto the bridge and along the pre-existing parts of the V1 as you head north to the city.

‘East-west also has a connection, so if you are coming along from the Princess Alexandra Hospital you can come in from the northern side of the road, which you couldn’t in earlier designs. I’m so glad that the Queensland state government and TMR allowed that link to be part of the overall project. Of course, the next missing link is at Birdwood road, but they are working on a bridge for that as well.’

The Miles Government is investing a total of $315 million over the next four years, aiming to expand the cycling and walking paths in Queensland. This is a part of the $37.4 billion Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program 2024-25 to 2027-28. Projects included in this investment include the velobridge in Greenslopes and a Riverwalk expandsion at Kangaroo Point.

‘Every person who rides a bike or walks to work, school, to socialise or to go to the shops means less traffic and less pollution, and can also mean savings on transport costs,’ explained Minister Mellish. ‘It’s not only cheaper than using a car but it’s much better for your health and we think Queenslanders deserve world class active transport facilities.’

This new bridge represents an investment of $22.03 million, and we’re certain it has improved efficiency of the network and the safety for all users.

Categories
Advocacy

Updates from Velo-City conference in Ghent

The world of cycling advocacy and active transport have descended on Ghent, Belgium this week. This university town is known as the home for a number of professional cyclists, the base for the Gent-Wevelgem semi-classic, and of course the Gent 6-day track race. And it’s in that short, tight and historic velodrome where the conference is taking place. This week the Derny Racing and Euro Disco is replaced instead by keynote speakers, handshaking, networking and elevator music. Bicycle Queensland’s CEO Alton Twine is at the Velo-City conference to meet with his contemporaries, and bring back global insights and learnings to improve bike riding and active transport in Queensland.

Ok, there was still a bike race for the opening ceremony.

‘Day 1 of the Velo-City conference here in Ghent underscored just how strong the global cycling movement is and how great it is to be part of this. Velo-City 2024 is the largest such conference held to date, with 1650 cycling practitioners from all over the world coming together to share their experiences and discuss what works to create more cycle friendly communities.’

‘The opening keynote address was by the ex-Transport Commissioner for New York, Janette Sadik-Khan . The changes that this amazing transport practitioner has brought to the Big Apple is nothing short of amazing, transforming key places to become bicycle and human-friendly. In a revealing presentation, Ms Sadik-Khan illustrated how a great many cities across the globe are embracing cycling and making decisions in favour of better infrastructure and programs. It’s no easy feat as there is still plenty of “bikelash” driven by those not willing to listen to their communities or to believe the data from the transformation that occurs when, as she says, you put people first.’ 

‘Of particular note today has been the story of transformation in Paris, with more people now riding than driving. There have been many factors in this success, driven by the need to keep Paris moving during the forthcoming Olympics, but also creating a lasting by legacy for the City. Progressive installation of high quality bike lanes in the City over the last 25 years is a key to their success, with cycling rates jumping markedly since 2019 on the back of initiatives such as allowing contra flow bike lanes in one-way streets and widening bike lanes to safely accommodate more cyclists.’

‘There have also been some interesting points on how to leverage more funding from the private sector for bike programs, with great examples from across the world.’ 

‘Cities like Ghent have transformed their transport systems in recent times by adopting policies that favour active transport, reducing congestion, improving safety for all road users and in the process building more liveable communities. There is a lot to be learned here.’

Categories
Advocacy

Bicycle Queensland partners with We Ride for National Urban Policy feedback

Bicycle Queensland welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of a $100 million Active Transport Fund, but BQ and the other bike advocacy groups have met and assert that a more substantial commitment is needed to create meaningful change. The $100 million is a step in the right direction, but insufficient for any impact nationwide.

Working with other state bodies, Bicycle Queensland are preparing a submission to highlight our key concerns. These revolve around:

– a lack of specific deliverables and a framework for delivery.
– a need to scale up investment for meaningful impact.
– recognition of e-bikes and e-scooters as light EVs, as part of a lower emissions solution.
– promotion of, and investment in active transport networks, including strategic cycling networks in all major cities.

Bicycle Queensland and the other state bodies appreciate the government’s efforts to promote active travel through the net-zero roadmap, however we urge a more ambitious and holistic approach so Australia can realise the full potential of active travel. We will be working on our submission, but you can read the details about the policy and have provide your own feedback via the portal right now.

Categories
Advocacy

Bicycle Queensland welcomes reduced public transport costs

Bicycle Queensland welcomes the announcement that Queenslanders will pay just 50c for each trip on a train, bus, ferry or light rail for 6 months from August 5, 2024. This is a great incentive to get more people to adopt public transport for more of their travel.

Making public transportation more affordable is a step in the right direction toward reducing congestion and promoting sustainable travel options. As advocates for active transport, particularly cycling, we feel it’s important to address some key areas in support of this initiative, to ensure that all commuters, including cyclists, can benefit fully from these changes.

Cycling and micromobility has a very real role in supporting more public transport trips, particularly on rail trips where the journey to and from stations needs to be considered as part of the “door to door” customer experience. Many park and ride facilities on the rail network are already full or close to capacity, so the journey to and from the station by bike needs to become a focus.

Room for bikes on trains

Currently there is limited space for bicycles on trains, for those who need to ride at each end of a rail journey. To encourage multi-modal trips where heavy or light rail doesn’t start or finish exactly where someone needs to go, bikes really help create a missing link. But if there isn’t room on trains for a bike to be stored, fewer people will be able to capitalise on the incentive.

Bike parking at stations

There is limited availability of bike parking at train stations. As more people turn to multi-modal transportation, it’s essential to prioritise secure bicycle parking facilities. By providing convenient and safe places to store bikes, we can encourage more people to choose cycling as a mode of transport for their daily commute.

Missing links in active transport networks

Seamless connections between public transport and active transport infrastructure are key. Integrating cycling routes with bus and train networks through well-planned infrastructure projects can significantly enhance the accessibility and attractiveness of multi-modal transportation options. While some routes have excellent integration, including signage, separated bike ways and secure bike parking – other areas need a lot more attention.

Capacity and facilities at train stations

Access to rail station platforms needs to be considered, looking at their use for those with luggage, the elderly, people with a disability, or those taking a bike or scooter to their final journey.

Bicycle Queensland welcomes the reduction in public transport fares,  and we urge policymakers to address the above concerns to ensure that bike riders and other public transport users can fully benefit from these changes.

By prioritising investments in active transport infrastructure and addressing these issues, we can create a more sustainable and inclusive transportation system for all Queenslanders – something that is imperative with the population growth in Queensland, and the major events coming to our state in the future.

By joining Bicycle Queensland, you can get excellent insurance coverage while riding a bike or e-scooter, receive member benefits and helps the advocacy work we do. Learn more here.

Categories
Advocacy

Bicycle Queensland and We Ride’s submission to the Climate Change Authority

On May 22, 2024 We Ride submitted a crucial proposal to the Climate Change Authority, co-authored with Bicycle Queensland and other state advocacy bodies. Our aim is clear: to ensure that the vital role of active transport, including bicycles, e-bikes, and e-scooters, is recognised and prioritised in discussions surrounding climate action in Australia.

“Bicycle Queensland is proud to be part of this multi-jurisdictional approach to recognising the vital role that cycling plays in helping to decarbonise our transport sector.” said Alton Twine, CEO of Bicycle Queensland. “Its not just about a transition to EV cars – Climate Change policy needs to consider the significant  potential to reduce emissions that active transport modes can play if appropriate investment is made by government to support meaningful mode shift in Australian Cities.”

“Everyone who rides a bike for their daily transport and recreational purposes is contributing to a cleaner, greener and healthier planet. If Australia is to achieve its emissions targets, every sector needs to help and cycling needs to be formally considered as part of this.”

At the heart of our concern lies the omission of active transport in the Climate Change Authority’s proposal. With the urgent need to transition towards low-emission alternatives, promoting the use of bicycles and small electric vehicles emerges as a readily accessible, equitable, and affordable solution.

Currently, Australia’s investment in active transport infrastructure lags far behind international recommendations, constituting a mere 2% of expenditure compared to the suggested 20% outlined by the United Nations. This discrepancy underscores the pressing need for increased support and funding in this area.

Bicycles, e-bikes and e-scooters offer a swift transition towards sustainable transportation, particularly for short trips. By prioritising incentives and infrastructure for these modes of transport, we can avoid exacerbating emissions through the rapid uptake of electric cars and the subsequent need for extensive infrastructure updates around EV charging.

As highlighted in We Ride’s submission, there is a strong public interest in active transport. However, concerns about safety persist, with two-thirds of individuals surveyed expressing reservations about the suitability of current infrastructure designed primarily for internal combustion vehicles.

We fully endorse the points raised by We Ride, including the health benefits and economic advantages associated with widespread adoption of active transport networks. In preparation for the upcoming state election in October, Bicycle Queensland urges our members to engage with local representatives to understand their stance on active transport.

Together, let’s pedal towards a greener, healthier future!

Find out more about Bicycle Queensland membership here.

Categories
Press releases

Bicycle Queensland Celebrates Success of Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Event

From May 3rd to 6th 2024, Bicycle Queensland, assisted through funding from the Queensland State Government, were proud to assist the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Association (BBIRT) in the successful running of the inaugural Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Weekend.  The event saw an impressive turnout of riding enthusiasts from across Queensland and New South Wales, coming together to celebrate their passion for cycling and exploration on the Dawes Range Tunnels section of the BBIRT (Barrimoon to Builyan).

Photo from the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Weekend 2024, supported by Bicycle Queensland. Photo by Element Photo and Video Productions.

The Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail event offered participants an unforgettable experience filled with camaraderie, scenic vistas, and thrilling challenges. The event had it all, with a dash of rain keeping the temperatures ideal, and adding a challenge element with some wet conditions. Riders embarked on a variety of rides through picturesque landscapes, traversing the diverse terrain of the rail trail -including the iconic Dawes Range tunnels. Evenings were spent being well fed and entertained with live music, all while camping under the wide Queensland night sky.

Photo from the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Weekend 2024, supported by Bicycle Queensland. Photo by Element Photo and Video Productions.

One participant expressed their delight, stating, “Meeting other like-minded people and riding with others in a group while soaking in the fabulous scenery made this event truly special.”

Another attendee shared their enthusiasm, remarking, “The riding, the challenges of the culverts, the venue, food, and drinks – it was all superb. This event brought together a great mixture of riders and bikes, creating an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.”

Photo from the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Weekend 2024, supported by Bicycle Queensland. Photo by Element Photo and Video Productions.

Each day had planned rides that let riders explore the old rail corridor and the sights it took in, and of course some of the historic infrastructure along the way. With ride leaders on hand, attendees were able to lean on their knowledge of the area and the rail corridor.

The Honourable Glenn Butcher, Member for Gladstone, was in attendance, and clearly impressed by the experience.

“The Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail has been one of the pinnacle projects that we have done in the region, utilising an old rail track which was ripped up a number of years ago now, to turn it into what I believe is one of the best rail trails not only here in Queensland, but in Australia.”

“I’m looking forward to what we can do in this part of the world. I’d like to see this end up as Australia’s longest rail trail. From Gladstone all the way through heading south.”

Hon. Glenn Butcher shakes hands with Bicycle Queensland CEO Alton Twine. Photo by Element Photo and Video Productions.

The BQ Team were in attendance for the weekend, comprising CEO Alton Twine, Advocacy Director Andrew Demack and Grants and Sponsorship Officer Paul Dalitz.

“This weekend has been a great success, in no small part due to the hard work from the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Association,” said Alton Twine after the weekend. “The weather threw up some extra challenges, but I think the turn out and positive event experience has illustrated just how popular this sort of infrastructure is. I’m certain the enthusiasm around the BBIRT will continue to grow from here.”

Andrew Demack was impressed by the turn out – but not surprised.

“Bike riders love rail trails because they are removed from traffic. Any time a rail trail is developed – riders will come. The bike riders who visit rail trails are committed travellers, they will spend time in the region and visit local businesses. As such, rail trails are an essential tool for economic revitalisation.”

“Bicycle Queensland are thrilled to have partnered with the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Association, and we look forward to working with them again soon.”

Andrew Demack runs a bike maintenance basics workshop during the BBIRT weeekend. Photo by Element Photo and Video Productions.

Gladstone Regional Council Mayor, Matt Burnett, had the honour of opening the event on Friday night and was thoroughly impressed by the overwhelming turnout of participants and the dedication from the volunteers to make the event a success. Mayor Burnett commended the organisers for their efforts in bringing together such a vibrant and inclusive event, emphasising the importance of initiatives like these events in promoting the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail.

Bicycle Queensland extends its heartfelt gratitude to all participants, volunteers, and supporters who contributed to the success of the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail event. Their passion and dedication have played a pivotal role in fostering a vibrant cycling community and showcasing the beauty of Queensland’s landscapes.

With our eyes now set to 2025, we will carry on working with the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Association to deliver another fantastic event experience on the iconic rail corridor in early May, 2025. Make sure you’re signed up to our newsletters for all updates, or follow us on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/bicycle.qld
https://www.instagram.com/bicycle_qld/
https://www.facebook.com/boyneburnettinlandrailtrail

Photo from the Boyne Burnett Inland Rail Trail Weekend 2024, supported by Bicycle Queensland. Photo by Element Photo and Video Productions.