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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