Planners want electrified cycleways

By Julian Bajkowski

 The Planning Institute of Australia has a taken red pen to the ACT Government’s ‘Draft Strategic Cycle Network Plan,’ marking down the strategy as “fundamentally flawed” and arguing that cycleways need to be opened-up to other modes of alternative transport.

The planning body’s Capital chapter is urging further consideration be given to what it calls “perspiration free” alternative transport options that it believes may be more appealing to everyday commuters than the humble pushbike.

“[The] PIA says there are a number of personal mobility devices being embraced by countries around the world but their use in Australia is restricted by our design rules,” the group said in a statement critiquing the National Capital’s latest plan.

“Personal vehicles such as Segways, yike bikes, mini Electric scooters, mobility scooters, mopeds, electric scooters, Robo scooters, and electric tricycles provide realistic, perspiration free safe alternatives but their use is generally illegal.”

The dilemma of what to do about so-called ‘personal vehicles’ is an accelerating problem for councils, roads authorities and police as the price of electrically powered transport falls rapidly.

One issue is that as the population ages and barriers to entry like price fall, more senior citizens and disabled people are jumping onto so-called mobility scooters to zap around town, usually on the footpath.

Compounding the issue is the surge in the popularity of electrically assisted bikes which allow riders to achieve and maintain speeds considerably faster than the pace of regular, perspiring, cyclists.

PIA ACT President Mr Vivian Straw said riding a bicycle to work in Canberra will remain the choice of the cycling enthusiast.

“Canberra has the best cycling network of any Australian capital city but it also has the lowest participation rate,” Mr Straw said.

“That situation is unlikely to change unless we take more bold and well thought out decisions.”


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One thought on “Planners want electrified cycleways

  1. You touched on an interesting point re the illegality of most of these ‘new’ modes of transport.

    I have been privy to internal government consideration of these alternative methods of transport (inc Segways).

    I am still very uneasy with the way the conversations with senior transport policy advisors went….which was something like…

    We are seeing a significant upsurge in the number of people contacting us about the use of new types of mobility devices (segways, battery powered scooters), many of which are available over the Internet.

    …What is our policy position / approach?

    We do not have the time or resources to look into the benefits of these devices, nor should we. That is someone else’s job. If they are not specifically legal, or if they contravene an ADR, then they are illegal.

    So that’s our position…yes.

    They are illegal because federal and state transport policy advisors are acting in isolation of public sentiment and making arbitrary policy decisions on the basis of resource constraints (keeping the status quo), rather than the public good or innovation.

    Direct public pressure on ministers might move us out of the 20 century reliance on the oil and gasindustry…but their lobbyists are proactive and well paid and governments transport advisors are old, busy and out of touch.

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